Mr Edward Parsons

Mr Edward Parsons (Chief storekeeper, 1st class) was born in Barnstaple, Devon, England on 11 November 1874.

He was the son of James Hill Parsons (1839-1892) and Rebecca Williams (1841-1922), both Devon-natives who had married in Barnstaple on 2 October 1862. The family appear to have moved around a lot, living in different villages in Devon and Bristol before settling in Barnstaple around 1874.

Edward had five known siblings: Edith Palmer (1864-1946), Richard (1866-1942), James (1872-1946), Henry (1878-1952) and Mary Ann (1880-1937).

Edward first appears on the 1881 census when he and his family were living at 2 St John's Cottages in Bishops Tawton, Devon and his father was described as a passengers' guard. His father would be described as a provision dealer by the time of the 1891 census where by now the family were living at 15 Anstis Street, St Andrew, Plymouth with Edward having already left school and working as a shop assistant to his father. His father died the following year on 17 February 1892 and his mother later moved to Torquay where she died on 29 November 1922.

Just prior to the loss of his father Edward, aged just 16 (although he convinced those in authority that he was three years older), joined the Royal Navy on 16 September 1891 and would serve four trips aboard Swifture until 2 September 1893 when he was sent ashore, his services no longer required. Of excellent conduct, he stood at 5' 5½" and had light brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion. It may be surmised that he then joined the merchant service.

Edward was married in Liverpool in 1897 to Clara Russell (b. 1874 in Liverpool). The couple went on to have five children: twins Elsie and Charles Edward (b. 1898), Norman Richard (1900-1962), Ethel (b. 1903) and Brenda (b. 1910). He his wife and first three children appear on the 1901 census living at 5 Eleanor Road, Klondyke, Lancashire and he is described as a steamship storekeeper. He appeared to work exclusively for the White Star Line, serving on liners such as OceanicTeutonic and Majestic, among other ships in the Line.

The family moved to Southampton, perhaps around 1907, and their youngest child Brenda was born there1. They appear on the 1911 census living at "Laurel Bank," 35 Hanley Road, Southampton and he was described as a marine storekeeper for the White Star Line.

When he signed on to the Titanic, in Southampton on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 26 Roberts Road, Southampton and his previous ship as the Celtic. As chief storekeeper he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.

Edward Parsons was lost in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

Edward's estate, worth £451, 1s, 4d was administered to his widow on 11 May 1912. His widow Clara, who benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund, never remarried, remaining in Southampton and later living at 94 Newlands Avenue in that city. She died on 2 April 1931.


Brenda Tiller nee Parsons, last surviving daughter of Edward Parsons died 22 December 2008 aged 98.

Articles and Stories

Torquay Times (1922) 
Torquay Directory (1912) 
Southern Daily Echo (1912) 
Exeter Flying Post (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 

Comment and discuss

  1. margaretpond24 said:

    My Grand Father was Edward (Eddie) Parsons who was chief storekeeper In the family's archives there is a letter from The White Star Line to my Grandmother saying that Eddie was last seen on the deck giving biscuits to children and comforting them .He did not survive leaving 5 children the eldest my father ( also Eddie ) aged 13 the youngest Brenda 2 years Margaret Pond

  2. avatar

    Michael Serviss said:

    That's an amazing story. I'm sorry for your loss.

  3. Andrew Williams said:

    Margaret welcome to the message board of E.T. -- the Mother/Widow was Clara Parsons? If you like to contact me privately we could discuss a few other matters relating to this case as Clara's ending was pretty gruesome. A.W.

  4. margaretpond24 said:

    I would be delighted to know more about Clara, over the years there has been odd conversations held between her children when they were alive but the conversations ceased when my generation were around. I believe she died in 1931and taking Lysol was mentioned when it was thought we were out of ear shot The story of the unfortunate death of Eddie on the Titanic has been past down the generations and the effect upon the family has in part coloured our lives .Any information you can pass to us will be gratefully received and added to our family history which am putting together before I... Read full post

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Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Margaret Pond, UK
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2016) Edward Parsons (ref: #2033, last updated: 6th December 2016, accessed 17th September 2020 11:22:39 AM)