Encyclopedia Titanica

John Canner

Mr John Canner (Fireman) was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on 2 January 1872.1

He was the son of William Henry Canner (1840-?) and Mary Ann Barnes (1840-1914). His father hailed from Chichester, Sussex and his mother from Portsmouth and they had married in 1864. He had two known siblings: Alice (b. 1865) and William Edward (b. 1870).

On the 1881 census John and his family are residing at 86 Charles Street, Portsea, Hampshire; his father was described as a general labourer and his mother as a dress maker (?). John had commenced his career by the time of the 1891 census as he is absent from the family home.

Having worked at seafaring since an early age, Canner joined the Royal Navy on 8 January 1890, his first ship being the Asia. His career saw him to go on and serve aboard Victory I, Victory II, Excellent, Gibraltar and Duke of Wellington II before making several crossings aboard Australia after which he was discharged on 12 February 1902. Of differing conduct, he was shown on several instances to have spent time in the cells for misdemeanours. Physically he was described as standing at 5' 4" and had dark hair, blue eyes, a fresh complexion and tattoos on his left arm.

The 1901 census sees John described as a seaman in the Royal Navy whilst he and his parents are resident at 3 William Terrace, Portsmouth. John is again absent from the 1911 census but his mother is described as a lodger and old age pensioner at 1 Moorland Road, Kingston, Portsmouth. His father had died around 1908.

When John signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 17 Shamrock Road, Southampton and his previous ship as the Medina. As a fireman he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.

John, who was unmarried, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

His mother passed away only two years later.


  1. Birthdate under dispute. Given in naval records as 2 January 1871. The only J. Canner born in Hampshire between 1870 and 1873, his birth was registered in the second quarter of 1872.


Gavin Bell

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr John Canner
Age: 40 years 3 months and 13 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: at 17 Shamrock Road Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Last Ship: Medina
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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