Mr Frederick James Banfield

Frederick James Banfield

Mr Frederick James Banfield was born in Helston, Cornwall, England on 29 February 1884.

He was the son of James Martin Banfield (b. 1859), a printer's compositor, and Ellen Berdinner (b. 1852), a housemaid, both Cornwall natives who were married on 28 March 1882 in Helston Parish Church. One of three children, Fred's only surviving sibling was his younger brother, William John (b. 1887).

When Fred appeared on the 1891 census he and his family were living at the home of his grandfather James Banfield, a shoemaker, on Church Street, Helston. His father died in 1900 and the 1901 census shows Fred living with his mother and brother at an address in Wendron, Cornwall and he was described as a grocer's assistant. and his mother was working as a laundress. Fred later worked as a miner in Cornwall and also spent time working in Devonport.

Fred was married in Plymouth on 22 September 1907, to Cecilia Elizabeth Avery Carder (b. 22 February 1887), a native of Plympton, Devon. The couple later had a child but it died in infancy.

Not long after his marriage Fred departed England on 19 October 1907 aboard New York and would work as a mining engineer at the Montana Mine, San Remo, Nevada. He was listed on the 1910 census in Tonopah, Nevada. On 15 December 1911 he returned to his wife in England for a 3 month holiday, during which time he stayed with her at 30 Grenville Road, Plymouth, Devon. After the holiday he was to journey to Houghton, Michigan--where his brother William John had lived since 1907--and start work at the Isle Royale Mine there.

He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger (ticket number C.A. 34068, £10, 10s) and was travelling with Joseph Fillbrook and Hayden Sobey who were also bound for Houghton, Michigan.

Fred Banfield died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. There is a memorial to him on the family gravestone in Helston, Cornwall. His mother would die in 1930.

Frederick James Banfield Memorial
© Steve Coombes,UK

During Fred's holiday in England his wife became pregnant. It is not clear if Fred knew he was to be a father again but on 15 November 1912 Cecilia gave birth to a son, also named Frederick James. Young Fred died in Plymouth on 2 July 2002 aged 89.

Cecilia Banfield was remarried in 1914 to Henry Charles Alonzo Thomas (1883-1958), a wood worker, and they had four children: Edna, Alfred, Edwin and Norman. She lived the rest of her life in Plymouth and died there on 8 January 1977 aged 89.

Fred's brother William was later married and had three sons, the youngest of whom, born in 1922, was named after his late uncle. He remained living in Houghton, Michigan and died in 1930.



Prayer Book Prize (Third Class)

Articles and Stories

Oak Leaves (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 
Western Daily Mercury (1912) 
Daily Mining Gazette 

Comment and discuss

  1. Steve Coombes said:

    The 2004 Cornwall Attractions Guide confirms that letters sent by Fred to his family from Titanic are on display at the Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre, near St. Austell, Cornwall. Their website also indicates it is possible to buy framed, authenticated copies of these letters from their shop. As an aside, for those who have not heard, one of his letters dated 10 April 1912 sent to his wife at home in Plymouth sold at auction in April this year for £20,000. If you want to know more about the shipwreck centre their web address is... Read full post

Reply Watch Thread


Gavin Bell, UK
Leah Banfield Bartram (Great Grandaughter of William John Banfield)
Steve Coombes, UK
Homer Thiel, USA
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Per Kristian Sebak, Norway
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

References and Sources

Daily Mirror April 19, 1912
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Frederick James Banfield (ref: #336, last updated: 16th July 2015, accessed 13th April 2021 08:50:36 AM)

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