Mr Frank Couch was born in Port Isaac, Cornwall, England on 11 August 1884.
He was the son of Francis Couch (b. 1853), a mariner, and Hannah Marina Fishley (b. 1853), both natives of Port Isaac who had married in Plymouth on 6 August 1874, settling in that city where they began their family before returning to their native Port Isaac in the early 1880s.
Frank had eight known siblings: Charles Olonzo (1876-1905), Laura Ellen (1878-1943, later Mrs John Avery), Francis (1879-1880), Annie (b. 1882), Ralph (1888-1968), Rebecca (b. 1890), Mary (1891-1893) and Marina (1894-1960, later Mrs George Bott).
He first appears on the 1891 census, then a resident of an unspecified address in Port Isaac and the family home would still have an unspecified address by the time of the following census in 1901. At the time of the latter record, however, Frank was absent from the family home and listed elsewhere as a crewmember (a cook) aboard Deveron, a schooner on which his brother Charles was the master. Exactly when Frank had joined the Royal Navy is not entirely certain and how he switched from hospitality to seamanship is likewise a mystery. His brother Charles, also a seaman, had been lost at sea in November 1905.
Frank's mother died on 5 April 1910 and his father was shown on the 1911 census living at Canadian Terrace in Port Isaac. Frank was shown on the same census as an unmarried merchant seaman boarding at 1 Birmingham Street, Southampton.
He signed-on the Titanic in Southampton on 6 April 1912 and as an able-bodied seaman his monthly wages were £5. He gave no local address but indicated that he had previously served aboard the Modwera.
Frank Couch was lost in the sinking and his body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#253).
NO.253 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 27 - HAIR, MEDIUM
CLOTHING - Black coat and vest; blue jersey; grey singlet; no socks.
TATTOO - Left arm, eagle on branch with flower; right arm, monument.
PROBABLY A SAILOR
He was subsequently buried in the Fairview Cemetery, Halifax Nova Scotia on 6 May 1912.
© Bill Fowler, Canada
Frank is mentioned on his parents gravestone in the parish churchyard of St Endellion, a few miles from Port Isaac, Cornwall. The inscription reads:
who died April 5th 1910
aged 57 years
also of Francis
husband of the above
who died April 14 1919
aged 65 years.
Also of their three sons
who died June 13th 1880
aged 13 months.
who was drowned at sea
on or about November 18th 1905.
Aged 29 years.
who was drowned in the
Titanic disaster April 15th 1912
aged 28 years.
Also of Mary, their daughter
died December 6th 1893 aged 2 years.
Coincidentally, his father died on 14 April 1919.
2. The ten children of Francis and Hannah Couch were: Charles Olonza (born 1876 - died 18 November 1905)
Laura Ellen (born 1878)
Francis (born 1879 - died 13 June 1880)
Annie (born 1882)
Frank(born 1884 - died on Titanic)
Martha (born 1886)
Ralph (born 1888)
Rebecca (born 1889)
Mary (born 1891- died 6 December 1893)
Marina (born 1894)
Record of Bodies and Effects: Passengers and Crew, S.S. Titanic (Public Archives of Nova Scotia) (#253)
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Voyage (#10). Titanic International (1991)
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