Ernest John Farenden was born in Emsworth, Hampshire, England in 1890 and his birth was registered in the September quarter of that year. He was the son of William Farenden (b. 1851) and Elizabeth Louisa Hammond (b. 1854); his mother and father, of Emsworth and Portsmouth respectively had married in Portsmouth in late-1876.
On the 1891 census Ernest is listed as living at 321 Nile Street, Warblington, Emsworth. His father is described as a baker. Also present are his siblings: Elizabeth (b. 1880), Frances (b. 1882) and George Edward (b. 1884) and his maternal aunt Frances Hammond (b. 1859). Two children, William (b. 1878) and Frank Albert (b. 1889) died prior to the census.
Ernest's mother Elizabeth died in 1900 aged 46 and the family appear on the 1901 census living at 23 South Street in Emsworth, his aunt Frances still resident with them. Ernest's father and his aunt were married in Portsmouth in mid-1901 but would have no children. They appear together to have run their own bakery and on the 1911 census are still living at 23 South Street in Emsworth, with William Farenden being described as a breadmaker and his wife as an assistant in the business. Ernest is not present on the 1911 census, perhaps at sea.
Ernest, as well as his brother George, followed in his father's footsteps and became a baker.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 23 South Street, Emsworth, Hampshire. His last ship had been the Olympic. As confectioner he received monthly wages of £8.
Farenden had been in the service of the White Star Line for a considerable time, his first voyage being made to the Mediterranean on board the Romanic. He was on board the Olympic during the Hawke collision and was said to be supersitious of the Olympic "as in fact were all the crew; none of them liked the ship, and those who left the vessel were very glad to do so." Farenden was very glad when he knew he was being transferred to the Titanic.
He sent his parents a postcard from Queenstown on the 11th: "Hope you and father are well. Did you see the ship which ran into H.M.S. Hawke in the Solent. It might have been serious. Don't you think this [the Titanic] a fine ship. Give my kind regards to all - Much love, Ern." Hampshire Post, 19 April 1912
Farenden died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His father William continued to live in Emsworth, later moving to the St James area. He died on 25 December 1917.
Dr Paul Lee
Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)