Mr Frederick William Hopkins

Mr Frederick William Hopkins (plate steward) was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, England in the latter half of 1897.

He was the son of Alfred Frederick Hopkins (b. 1870) and Letitia Mary Jones (b. 1876). His father was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire and his mother in Cardiff, Wales and they had married in Aldershot on 16 September 1896.

Frederick's father had enlisted for service in British Army in York in October 1885, records showing that he was a diminutive man standing at only 5' 1" tall (he later grew to 5' 8") and with brown hair and hazel eyes and with an exemplary record of service. His service with the 3rd King's Own Hussars lasted on home soil until December 1898 when he was posted to India for a three year service until 22 January 1901, with a spell in South Africa and another in India until December 1906 after which he was posted home. It appears that his wife and family accompanied him for at least a period of this service. He was discharged from service at the rank of Sergeant Trumpeter on 3 January 1907.

Frederick had two known siblings: his brother George Ralph was born in Norwich, Norfolk in 1898 and his youngest brother Robert was born in Lucknow, India in 1902.

The family would be absent from the 1901 census, then stationed in India. By the time of the 1911 census Frederick's father is described as an army pensioner and caretaker for the offices of the White Star Line and the family are resident at 14 Fanshawe Street, Southampton with Frederick still described as a school boy. He perhaps left school that summer and went to work at sea, his position possibly being secured by his father's connection to the White Star Line. Frederick was also a keen boy scout and was a Patrol Leader in the 20th Southampton Group.

When Frederick signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 14 Fanshawe Street, Southampton and his age as 16 (in reality he was several months shy of his 15th birthday). His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a plates steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s. He was one of two 14-year-olds working on the Titanic, the other being bellboy William Albert Watson, and therefore was one of the youngest members of the crew.

Hopkins died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

His parents later benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund. They continued to live in Southampton but with the outbreak of WWI in 1914 his ever-resilient father was keen to serve his country yet again and re-enlisted for service in September 1914 aged 43; this time, however, he was deemed unfit for military service. He died on 15 February 1915 at his home, still 14 Fanshawe Street.

Fred's mother Letitia remained in Southampton until her death in 1945. His brother George later settled in Saskatchewan but died at a young age in 1925. What became of his younger brother Robert is unknown.


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Gavin Bell, UK

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
The Hampshire Independent, April 27, 1912
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) Frederick William Hopkins Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1919, updated 13th January 2020 19:51:05 PM)