Encyclopedia Titanica

Frederick Humby

Frederick Humby
Frederick Humby

Mr Frederick Humby (plate steward, 2nd class) was born in Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England in the latter half of 1895.

He was the son of James William Humby (b. 1861), a lamp lighter, and Fanny Frances Holloway (b. 1859), Shirley natives who were married in late 1885.

He had five known siblings: Alice Florence (b. 1882), William Matthew (b. 1886), Nellie Louisa (b. 1888), James Frederick (1890-1891) and Frank (b. 1892).                                                                                                                                 

Fred's mother died in 1898. When he appears on the 1901 census he is living with his widowed father and siblings on Cambridge Street, Southampton. His father died around 1904 and he and his brother Frank were placed into the care of Barnarados. He and Frank, when they came of age, were sent to the Watts Naval Training School in Norfolk. Whilst Frank entered Naval service on 17 March 1909, his first ship being the Ganges, Fred did not.

Fred instead went into the Merchant Service. He appears on the 1911 census boarding at 127 Bedford Street, Liverpool and is described as an unmarried ship's steward. His brother Frank appears on the same census at the Royal Naval Barracks and Officers' Quarters on Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth.

One of the younger members of the crew, when he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Fred gave his local address as 52 Clarendon Road, Southampton, the home of a Mr John Good and his family, he also a ship's steward. His last ship had been the Hildebrand and as a plate steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Fred Humby died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

Friends and family later raised funds for a stained glass window to be created to honour his memory. It was installed in Watts Naval School chapel, it's inscription reading:

To the Glory of God and in memory of Frederick Humby, a boy hero, who perished on board S. S. Titanic 15 April 1912, aged 17 years.

The memorial remained there until the chapel was closed before it was relocated to Barnardo's Chapel in Stepney, Middlesex. Following that chapel's closure in the late 1960s, the memorial window was again moved and placed into storage, its last known location being at the Boy's Garden City in Woodford Bridge, Essex. Its further whereabouts remained unknown for many years before it emerged that the window had been bought by a private collector and now resides in Houston, Texas, purchased in 1976 by a private collector named Jim Ellis.

Fred's brother Frank continued to serve aboard a host of Royal Navy ships, working as a signal man. He served throughout the duration of World War I before he was discharged on 17 April 1919, his final ship being Victory I. What became of him is not certain.

His brother William later married and settled in London. He died in Lambeth in 1968.

References and Sources

General Register Office: Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths
1901, 1911 Census (England)
RMS Titanic: Agreement and Account of Crew (National Archives, London, BT100/259)
RMS Titanic: Casualty List (National Archives, London, BT100/259)


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  1. Andrew Gibbs

    Andrew Gibbs said:

    F. Humby, 17, was born in Hampshire, he was educated at Dr. Barnardo's Naval School for orphans, Watts Naval School, in Norfolk. When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 52 Clarendon Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Hildebrand. He was listed as 'in charge of plates', would that be in one of the pantries ?, and is there any way to find out which part of the ship he was working in, (first-class)(second-class)ect ? ... Read full post

  2. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    Hallo, Andrew, and welcome to the forum. Thanks for the link - very interesting. Fred Humby was one of three plate stewards who worked in the 2nd Class pantry area, forward of the dining room on D deck. These men cleaned and polished the silverware (ie silver plate) rather than dishes. Only one of the three (Arthur Burrage) survived the sinking.

  3. Andrew Gibbs

    Andrew Gibbs said:

    Bob, Thank you for the very interesting information, I will put it up on the webpage if I may. He would have been taught to swim at Watts Naval School, and a lot about safty at sea. I did see on here, or another notice board, last year, a relative Emma Humby, from Southampton, looking for information, but with no email address. It would be interesting for her to know more about her relative, so I hope she sees this. Andy

  4. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    You're very welcome to use the info, Andy. Here's a bit more which might be of interest. As well as the 3 'plate men' in Second Class, There were 7 more who worked in First Class, and all shared a cabin with the 11 First & Second Class scullions (dishwashers). This was on the port side of E deck (about level with the first funnel) and opened directly onto the main working alleyway nicknamed 'Scotland Road'. Of these 21 men, only 6 survived. The youngest of the victims was Alfred Hopkins, another Hampshire lad, who was one of the plate stewards working in First Class and was just 16 years old.... Read full post

  5. Andrew Gibbs

    Andrew Gibbs said:

    That is interesting, especially about Albert Hopkins who probably knew Fred quite well. I think Fred must have had his 17th birthday onboard the Titanic. Was E deck under the water level, as I don't know much yet about the layout of the Titanic. Why do you think so few of these lads survived ? Emma Humby posted a note on the Titanica Guestbook: July 1999, but no email address. Andy Name: Emma Humby From: Southampton UK Time: 1999-07-16 01:00:06 Comments: Good site with lots of info. I am currently researching about my distant relative Fred Humby (Plate Steward) and would like... Read full post

  6. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    E deck was well above the waterline. Yes, Fred did have his birthday on the ship. I daresay he knew Alfred Hopkins by sight, but possibly not much more than that. They didn't work or eat in the same pantry area, and in the few days before the sinking there wasn't much time between the end of their long working day and the need for a good night's sleep. Regarding the loss rate of kitchen crew, this thread might be interesting for you: ... Read full post

  7. Andrew Gibbs

    Andrew Gibbs said:

    Thank you for your help, and very interesting information. I might have a lead on someone who knew Fred hUMBY, again fron the notice board on this site. Someone who may be decended from a survivor who may have known Fred. Name: Richard Cullen From: England Time: 1999-05-09 02:08:31 Comments: I am hoping to gather information about two members of the Titanic's crew. They are; 2nd Class Plates Steward Fred Humby (LOST) 1st Class Bedroom Steward Charles Cullen (SAVED) I am hoping to create a memorial display to Fred close to the naval training school he attended (Watt's Naval... Read full post

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Frederick Humby
Age: 17 years (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: at 52 Clarendon Road Southampton, Hampshire, England
Last Ship: Hildebrand
Embarked: Southampton on Thursday 4th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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