Mr Herbert Cave was born in Wandsworth, London, England in early 1873 and was later baptised on 28 May that same year in All Saints Church, Wandsworth.
He was the son of Frederick Cave (1835-1915) and Caroline Matilda Hassell (1842-1935). His father, a brewer’s traveller and tea merchant, hailed from Richmond, Surrey whilst his mother was a native of Sussex and they had married in London in 1863.
Herbert had ten siblings: Eliza Mary Matilda (b. 1864), Frederick Hassell (b. 1865), Violet Matilda (b. 1866), Kate Beatrice (b. 1868), Christine Lilian (b. 1869), Percy (b. 1870), Fielder (b. 1871), Frank Norman (b. 1874), Ida Blanche (b. 1875) and Hilda May Hassell (b. 1881).
Herbert appears on the 1881 census living at 5 Leskinnick Street in Madron, Penzance, Cornwall under the charge of his 15-year-old brother, Frederick, a schoolboy himself, along with several other siblings. His mother and other siblings were listed elsewhere at 1 Holmewood Terrace, Haldon Road, Wandsworth. By the time the 1891 census was taken Herbert is reunited with his family, then living in All Saints, Hastings, Sussex at 82 Alfred Road, Herbert described as a grocer's assistant.
Herbert was married in Sussex in early 1900 to Gertrude Agnes Avery (b. 1875 in St Leonards, Sussex, daughter of William and Martha Avery, the latter née Russell).
The couple went on to have two children: daughter Dorothy Violet was born in 1900 and son Reginald in 1902, both living only days or weeks before their deaths.
Herbert and Gertrude appear on the 1901 census living at Station Street in Lymington, Hampshire and Herbert was still described as a grocer. He first appears in shipping records in May 1902 when he was a steward aboard Lake Champlain, his ship prior to that being the Montfort. By the time of the 1911 census Herbert and his wife were living at 17 Shirley Park Road, Shirley, Southampton and he was described as a ship's steward.
When he signed on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 Cave gave his address as 17 Shirley Park Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a saloon steward, he could expect to earn monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Herbert Cave was lost in the disaster; his body (#218) was recovered and later buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Among the effects located on his body was a partial listing of first class cabin accommodation, the only known surviving record of such cabin allocations.
Herbert's widow Gertrude did not remain in Southampton and moved northwards to Liverpool where, on 3 February 1920, she married clerk William Henry Fenwick (b. 26 May 1880). The marriage was short-lived as Gertrude passed away only a few years later in 1923.