Encyclopedia Titanica

Frederick Vernon Hilton Reeves

Assistant Pantryman Steward

Frederick Vernon Hilton Reeves
Frederick Vernon Hilton Reeves

Frederick Vernon Hilton Reeves (F. Smith) was born at 21 Park Place in Brighton, Sussex, England1 on 2 July 1891. On 23 August that year he was baptised at the Church of the Annunciation, a Roman Catholic church in Brighton, his address at the time being stated as 36 Washington Street.

He was the son of Frederick William Reeves (b. 1858) and Alice Maud Bull (b. 1867). His father was a carpenter and joiner and hailed from Bath whilst his mother was born in Southampton, the daughter of George Samuel Bull (b. 1844), a cab driver from Beaulieu, Hampshire, and Elizabeth Saunders (b. circa 1842), a native of Fordingbridge. 

Frederick had one known sibling, his younger brother John2 (b. circa 1897 in Southampton). 

Frederick's parents appeared on the 1891 census living at 21 Park Place, Brighton; although described as husband and wife they were not married until later that year.

He first appears on the 1901 census living at 27 Fanshawe Street, Southampton; his mother was by then a widow but what became of his father is not certain and the household was taking in lodgers to make ends meet. His mother appears to have remarried to a man named Smith but details about this are lacking3. From that union, however, Frederick gained two half-siblings: Ronald Bertie (b. 23 July 1903) and Winifred "Winnie" Laura Clara (b. 7 July 1905, later Mrs Norman William Vine).

Frederick, listed as F. Smith, and his two half-siblings appear on the 1911 census living at 33 Ordnance Road, Southampton, the home address of his grandparents George and Elizabeth Bull, by then boarding house keepers. The whereabouts of his mother is not certain but he was described as an unmarried ship's steward. 

Reeves was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. For the maiden voyage he signed-on again in Southampton (as F. Smith) on 4 April 1912 and gave his address as 33 Ordnance Road. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as an assistant pantry steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Frederick Reeves died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified4.

Hard on the heels of his own death, Frederick's grandfather died on 5 October 1912. His half-sister Winifred died in Bournemouth in 1987 and his half-brother Ronald in Glamorgan, Wales in 1990. 

Notes

  1. The 1911 census gives his birthplace as Southampton.
  2. John appears on the 1901 census; there is no identifiable record for his birth and no evidence as to what became of him as he is later absent from the 1911 census. 
  3. On the 1901 census one of their lodgers was a Southampton-born photographic film engraver named John Smith (b. circa 1879); was he Frederick's eventual step-father?
  4. Body #240 might be that of F. Smith (Correspondence with Alan Ruffman, Canada).

References and Sources

Daily Mirror 20 April 1912
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Comment and discuss

  1. 181214

    My message of enquiries is aimed at Emma Richardson who resides out in the beautiful county of Sussex. Seven years later I am on the verge of solving this mystery. One he wasn't born in Brighton. Two he was actually born in Southampton. If Emma does pay another of her flying visits to us again I would like to speak with her privately please. Andrew Williams

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Frederick Vernon Hilton Reeves (F. Smith)
Age: 20 years 9 months and 13 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Belfast on Monday 1st April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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