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 (b. 1835) and Caroline Matilda Hassell (b. 1844). His father, a brewers traveller and tea merchant, hailed from Richmond, Surrey and his mother was a native of Sussex and they had married in London in 1863.
Herbert had nine known siblings: 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 (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, now 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 Pierce) and the couple would have two children, losing both in infancy. They appear on the 1901 census living at Station (?) Street in Lymington, Hampshire and Herbert is still described as a grocer. By the time of the 1911 census Herbert and his wife are living at 17 Shirley Park Road, Shirley, Southampton and Herbert is described as a ship's steward .
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Herbert gave his address as 17 Shirley Park Road, (Southampton). His previous ship had been the Olympic. 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.
What became of Herbert's widow Gertrude is not certain although she is believed to have remarried.
When his body was recovered a partial listing of first class cabin accommodation was found in his clothes, it is the only known record of cabin allocations.