Mr Henry Herman Finch

Mr Henry Herman "Harry" Finch was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 8 May 1893.

He was the son of Alfred Finch (b. 1831), a dock engineer, and Eliza Alice Kindler (b. 1863).

His father Alfred hailed from Lockerley, Hampshire and had been married in Southampton in 1877 to Charlotte Whale (b. 1854) and had three children: Charlotte Rose (1879-1954) and Alfred William (1880-1956) and Alice Elizabeth (b. 1887). Charlotte died in 1889 and it seems her two eldest children were raised by her elderly mother, also called Charlotte.

Alfred Finch later became involved with another woman, Eliza Alice Kindler, a laundress and former London native who was raised in Southampton. They were married in 1891 and had their only child Harry in 1893. Alfred Finch died in early 1899 and by the time of the 1901 census his wife Alice had been admitted to a female convalescent home in Brighton and her son Harry and step-daughter Alice were listed as pauper inmates at different workhouses, Alice at South Stoneham Union Workhouse and Harry at Southampton Incorporation Workhouse.

There is no sign of Harry on the 1911 census, perhaps indicating that he had already commenced his career at sea. By that time his mother was listed as an inmate at the Portsmouth Borough Lunatic Asylum. Also an inmate there was his grandfather, Louis George Kindler (1863-1917).

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 32 French Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Philadelphia and as a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s. Also aboard was his maternal uncle by marriage, John Brown Niven (aka J. McGregor), a fireman. Niven was married to his mother's sister Louisa Lillian Kindler.

Harry Finch, like his uncle John Niven, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

The following death notice appeared in The Hampshire Independent (4 May 1912):

FINCH--Harry, Deeply mourned by his many friends.

His mother never left the Portsmouth Borough Lunatic Asylum and she died there in the latter months of 1917, not long after the death of her father, also in that establishment.

 

Comment and discuss

  1. trevor davy said:

    Finch, Harry Victualling Department Third Class Stewards. Harry was my Gt Uncle ---he lied about his age & current address---which does not exsist in Soton. Prior to sailing on the Titanic, Harry had been working on board the Philadelphia, but as this had no coal & could not sail due to strike. Harry joined the Titanic at 6 a.m. on April 10th 1912, as a third class steward. For the voyage he could expect to earn monthly wages of £3. 15s. 0d. Can anybody add further information

  2. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Trevor - Hello and welcome. Ref. Mr. Finch - What makes you think that he lied about his address in 1912? In 1912 32 French Stree was a public house that did 'lodgings' and were second homes for many seamen - unfortunatly like many other premises it was destroyed by German bombs in the last war. I have posted below my printout on him with the death notice from the newspaper - please note the original was torn. Best regards Brian J. Ticehurst - Southampton UK. Finch, Henry. Lived or lodged at 32 French Street, St Michael's, Southampton. Occupation Steward. 18 years old. (Born in... Read full post

  3. trevor davy said:

    Hi Brian, I have known since a small boy that my great uncle went down in the Titanic and was not quite 18 when he died -- he was even younger when he signed on the Philadelphia. The family history went that one had a greater chance of getting a first post on a ship if you were local and the addresses of most lodgings were known to the pursers, so he invented one that would seem OK. He was born :- Name: Finch, Harold Francis Record Type: Births Quarter: September Year: 1895 District: Lambeth County: Greater London London Surrey When I first read the... Read full post

  4. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Trevor - Hi again. The ages on the Board of Trade Signing on sheets are an anomaly and even Captain Smith wrote his age down wrongly. French Street most certainly had a number 32. It was one of the 39 Public Houses listed for that Street in the book 'Southampton Inns and Publications'. It is also listed in every edition of the Kellys Street Directory up until 1940 when the whole area was decimated by the bombings. For instance by 1927 it had ceased to be a public house and was a private dwelling owned and occupied by a Mr. Charles Knott, Fishmonger (he also owned the house next door) who... Read full post

  5. trevor davy said:

    Hi Brian The point you seem to be missing is that his address was supposed to be --"The Home Address is the one on to which communications should be made in the event of the death of the Seaman." according to his "signing on form " The Pub you are defending is certainly not this as you have described it as a lodging house. His parents lived into 1920 & 1940 and he had 12 siblings---.You should be suspicious that these "Good friends" didnt know or mention his family. Surely most of his good friends went with him to a watery grave. My Grandmother was pregnant at the time of her brother... Read full post

  6. Andrew Williams said:

    Ten years later I have the confidence to confirm that Harry isn't his real name. I am conducting a full investigation which is pending the outcome on my part and there isn't only strong connections with Southampton, but the finger does point elsewhere at Portsmouth. Harry whose real name is -- Henry Herman Finch lost his Uncle. He signed on the Crew Manifest as McGregor but his real name is John Brown Nevin. Henry's mother was the oldest sister "Alice Eliza Finch nee Kindler" whereas her younger sister on the Relief Fund is "Louisa Lilian Nevin formerly Scott nee Kindler. The other surprise... Read full post

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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2015) Henry Herman Finch (ref: #1864, last updated: 3rd July 2015, accessed 10th July 2020 22:22:07 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/harry-finch.html