Mr Herbert George Ernest Hensford

Mr Herbert George Ernest Hensford (Assistant butcher) was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 24 April 1885.

He was the first child of Frederick George Hensford (1858-1920), a railway clerk, and Miriam Laura Belbin Whitehorn (1860-1952). His father was from Southampton and his mother from Salisbury, Wiltshire and they had married in 1884 in Alderbury, going on to have nine children.

Hensford's siblings were: Edward John (b. 1887), Miriam Laura (b. 1888), Harriet Annie (b. 1889), William Frederick (b. 1893), Ethel Maud (b. 1894), Arthur Henry (b. 1897), Alfred Tom (b. 1899) and Harry Ernest (b. 1903). The family were from a Church of England religious background.

Herbert appears on the 1891 census living with his family at 55 Priory Road, South Stoneham, Southampton and they would have moved to 228 Market Street (?) by the time of the 1901 census, with Herbert's father now described as a dock labourer and Herbert as a butcher's boy. On the 1911 census he is living with his family at 90 Albert Road, St Mary, Southampton and is described as unmarried and as working as a ship's butcher.

Alongside his trade as a butcher, Hensford had also joined the British Army reserves on 3 February 1904 in Winchester. Of good physical health, he stood at 5' 5¾" in size 6 shoes, weighed 122 lbs, had brown hair, blue eyes and had a fresh complexion with a scar on one of his hands. He joined at Aldershot a day later and military records attest that he had schooled at the Duke of York Royal and Royal Hibernian Military Schools.

Whilst still a reserve, Hensford found himself short on work. On 23 September 1910 he wrote to his superiors (spelling and grammar uncorrected):

32 Bridge Road



Sept 23rd


I no. 21916 H. G. Hensford having been out of employment and I am trying to get a place ashore until January.

Sir, I have been ask to go in January with Howard Gould Esq yacht it is going to India & Japan and it will be away about 8 to 10 months so I beg for permission to go in the yacht. I could report myself through the Captain or the Owner as often as you require.

Hoping for a favourable answer and thanking you for the same.

I remain your obedant (sic) servant

H. G. Hensford

Hensford was married on 8 February 1912 to Alice Louisa Beck (b. 31 October 1889 in Lymington, Hampshire). He signed-on to the Titanic only a few weeks later, on 6 April 1912, and gave his address as 132 Malmesbury Road, Southampton. His last ship had been the St. Paul and as assistant butcher he received monthly wages of £4, 10s.

Herbert Hensford died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His wife Alice never remarried, remaining a widow for 66 years until her death in Southampton in 1978 aged 88.


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Gavin Bell, UK

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2016) Herbert George Ernest Hensford (ref: #1907, last updated: 6th December 2016, accessed 5th August 2020 09:53:18 AM)