Mr George Swane was born in Brighton, Sussex, England on 12 December 1892.
He was the son of John Murray Swane (b. 1856), a carman, and Mary Ann Maynard (b. 1861), both Brighton natives who had married in their hometown in 1882.
George was one of nine children and his siblings were: Minnie (b. 1883), Rosa (1884-1936), Annie (b. 1886), John Henry (b. 1888), Francis Murray (1891-1964), Albert William (b. 1895), Dick Octavius (b. 1897) and Charles Baden (1900-1951).
George and his family appear on the 1901 census living at 184 Sackville Road, Hove Sussex. What became of his father is not know but when the 1911 census was conducted his mother was described as a widow and working as a midwife, listed as living at 28-30 Surrey Square, Walworth, London. His younger brothers Dick and Charles were listed as inmates at a children's home on Ham Road in Shoreham, Sussex and his older siblings were scattered around different addresses in the country. George is not listed on the census and his whereabouts at this time are unknown.
He was hired by the wealthy Allison family of Montréal and he and their cook Amelia were booked as second class passengers on Titanic whilst the Allisons would travel in first class. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 (ticket number 248734 which cost £13) and stayed in a cabin on F-deck adjacent to that of Amelia Brown.
On the night of the sinking he and his cabin-mates had enjoyed a pillow fight, keeping the Amelia Brown and the other women in her cabin awake. Following the Titanic's collision, George knocked on the ladies' cabin door, warning them to get dressed as quickly as possible. His colleague Amelia was reluctant to rise from her bed despite his warnings. She only stirred a while later due to the protestations of another of her roommates, Selina Cook.
George Swane lost his life in the disaster and his body was later recovered and buried at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 6 May 1912.
The grave of George Swane in Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, N.S.
Photo: © Bill Fowler, Dundas, Canada.
NO. 294 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 18 - HAIR, DARK
CLOTHING - Blue suit; grey socks; low shoes.
EFFECTS - Chain; sovereign case, empty; 33s 5d in cash; one tie pin; two motor licenses.
NAME - GEORGE SWANE, 73 Little Cadogan Place, London, S.W.
His mother Mary Ann later died in Surrey in 1935.
There is so much written about the Allisons, their maid Sarah Daniels, nurse Alice Cleaver and even the surviving cook Mildred Brown. But poor George Swane, the 19 year old chauffeur from Brighton seldom gets mentioned despite the fact that he died in the sinking. He was one of 9 children, lost his father before he was 10 years old and some of his siblings were sent int care or living with other relatives. Therefore, when he got the job as chauffeur for a wealthy Canadian family, it must have been the opportunity of a lifetime. Swane's good spirits on board the Titanic...