Encyclopedia Titanica

Francis Parkes

Francis Parkes
Francis Parkes

Mr Francis Parkes, known as Frank, was born at 9 Castlereagh Place in Belfast, Ireland on 8 November 1890.

He was the son of James Parkes (b. 1851) and his wife Elizabeth, née Jervis (b. 1852). His father, a native of Co Tyrone, worked as an advertising agent and later a school attendance officer and was married to his wife Elizabeth, a Downpatrick, Co Down native, on 3 June 1885. 
Growing up in a Church of Ireland household, Francis had six siblings: Matthew James (b. 5 January 1887), Robert George (b. 7 February 1889), Charles (b. 6 June 1893), William Frederick (b. 14 September 1895), Elizabeth Mary (b. 21 July 1898) and Violet Maud (b. 6 October 1901). 

The family appear on the 1901 census of Ireland living at 76 Richardson Street off of the Ormeau Road in South Belfast. By the time of the 1911 census, the family had shifted to 25 Agincourt Avenue, Cromac, Belfast. At the time of the latter record Francis was described as an apprentice plumber; he worked alongside several of his brothers who were also employed by Harland & Wolff in various capacities whilst father was an official within Belfast City Council.

Frank was aboard the Olympic for her maiden voyage arriving in New York on 21 June 1911.  The immigration papers indicates he was 5ft 8½in tall, with brown hair and was missing the 1st finger of his right hand.

Frank repeated the voyage in April 1912 when he joined the nine-strong "guarantee group" of Harland and Wolff employees chosen to oversee the smooth running of the Titanic's maiden voyage. 

Francis Parkes, like the rest of his counterparts, died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His parents remained at their 25 Agincourt Avenue address for years to come; his father died there on 16 December 1918 from pneumonia but what became of his mother remains unknown but she was no longer living at 25 Agincourt Avenue after 1931.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Francis Parkes
Age: 21 years 5 months and 7 days (Male)
Nationality: Irish
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Plumber
Embarked: Belfast
Ticket No. 239853
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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References and Sources

Photo: Cam Houseman via Ancestry.com

Documents and Certificates

1901, 1911 Census (Ireland)


List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port of Arrival (Date: 21 June 1911, Ship: SS Olympic), National Archives, New York


Stephen Cameron (1998) Titanic: Belfast's Own, Dublin, Wolfhound Press. ISBN 0 86327 685 7
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Comment and discuss

  1. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    Mr. Francis "Frank" Parkes is pretty interesting in my opinion, been researching him lately. He was also on the Olympic during her maiden voyage, as a Guarantee Gang member, in June 1911. In 1907 he entered the Harland and Wolff Shipyards as an apprentice plumber, and his brother George also worked at the yard Mr. Parkes lived here, in South Belfast, on Richardson st, Number 76 (circled in red)

  2. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    After some research and getting some leads on a super cool Belfast... Read full post

  3. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    Some more details: Elizabeth, Robert, and Charles show up on the Whiting and Ganson trees, but there's no further info post 1911. Although, the Walker Family tree has Elizabeth married to William Cameron, but there's no further information on that. Maybe when the 1921 census is released we'll have more information. Here's a picture of Frank, since Encyclopedia Titanica doesn't have one Will be back if I find more details

  4. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    Mr. Parkes was missing a finger on his right hand (thanks to a friend for getting it for me from Ancestry.com)

  5. Dan Parkes

    Dan Parkes said:

    Thanks so much for this research, Cam, it is really interesting. I have also researched some of his life and collected various documents to see if there was a family connection (I have sadly not found one). I have also always felt for his predicament - as an apprentice plumber, his work was no doubt cut out on the night of the disaster.

  6. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    Its no problem Dan, I find Frank very interesting! And Yeah, he was most likely down below that night, working the pumps or in the Engine Room, poor guy. I've also wondered how he managed to be an... Read full post

  7. Dan Parkes

    Dan Parkes said:

    Very much along the same lines as you - housing records, 1901 and 1911 census records, passenger/crew lists, plus a photograph of his name on the Belfast memorial and a photograph of a gentleman who attended the Belfast Titanic Society in 2019 whose wife was Frank's "great great niece".

  8. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    can you send the photograph of his name on the memorial? And did the gentleman talk of his wife? Did his wife say what her great great uncles and aunts say how they took the news and how they figured it out?

  9. Dan Parkes

    Dan Parkes said:

    Hi Cam Here is his name on the Belfast Titanic Memorial: Hope it is of some help.

  10. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    And here is the photograph of a gentleman who attended the Belfast Titanic Society in 2019 (taken by John McDonald) who said his wife was a 'great great niece' of Francis Parkes. I have been meaning to follow this up to see if I could make contact, however, my Titanic officers website and Facebook group have presently taken up any free time I have! [ATTACH type="full" alt="wife was great great neice of Francis... Read full post

  11. Peter Kyhl

    Peter Kyhl said:

    Incredible work Cam :) I really enjoy reading it all and see all the work you did.

  12. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    THank you Peter, that means a lot to me :) I start researching Ennis Hastings Watson, it should be fun

  13. Cam Houseman

    Cam Houseman said:

    Whoopsie, typo, sorry Meant to say I will start Researching Mr. Watson

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Gavin Bell, UK
Cam Houseman