Mr James Colston Hill (known as Jimmie) was born in Ryde, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England around 1869 although his birth was apparently never registered. He was later baptised in Ryde's Holy Trinity Church on 5 June 1870.
He was the son of George Rowland Hill (b. 1838) and Hannah Thomas (b. 1838); his father was from Bristol and his mother from Swansea and they had married in St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol on 7 September 1857, settling in that city before moving to London and eventually settling in Hampshire around 1865.
His known siblings were: George William Rowland (b. 1858), William Henry (b. 1861), Amelia (b. 1863), Arthur James Humphrey (b. 1866), Sydney Albert (b. 1871), Isabel Christina Thomas (b. 1874) and David Thomas (b. 1877).
James first appears on the 1871 census living at 19 Albert Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight when his father was described as an engine fitter. Following a short spell in Swansea in the late 1870s the family returned to Hampshire and at time of the 1881 census were living at Delhi Cottage, Mill Hill Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight. James was not recorded on the 1891 census but his family were living at 121 Northam Road, Southampton.
James was married in mid-1892 to Annie Elizabeth Stephens (b. 5 June 1872 in Poole, Dorset), daughter of Scots-born publican Charles Stephens and the former Elizabeth Burrows Brown.
Together they would have four children: May Irene (b. 1893), Isabel Christina (b. 1898) and James Norman Chamberlain (b. 1903). Another unidentified child died in early infancy.
James, his wife and daughters appear on the 1901 census living at 76 Lodge Road, Portswood, Hampshire and he was then described as a corn carrier. By the time of the 1911 census James was absent, presumably at sea, but his family were listed at 64 Cromwell Road, Southampton.
Hill was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again in Southampton on 4 April 1912 for the maiden voyage, he gave his address as 64 Cromwell Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a bedroom steward could expect monthly wages of £3 15s.
James Colston Hill died in the sinking; his body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#152) and buried at sea on 24 April 1912.
NO. 152. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 38. - HAIR, DARK.
CLOTHING - Steward's uniform.
EFFECTS - 1 pipe; 1 stud; 2 ship keys.
NAME - J. C. HELL.
His effects worth £146, 8s, 6d, were released to his widow Annie on 28 June 1912. His death notice was carried in the Southern Daily Echo and the Hampshire Independent, the following coming from the former:
HILL--James Colston (Jimmie). Of 64 Cromwell Rd., beloved husband of Annie Hill. Deeply mourned by sorrowing Wife and Children. - Southern Daily Echo, 4 May 1912.
Annie continued to place memorials for him in Hampshire newspapers on the anniversary of the sinking for several years. She never remarried and remained in Southampton for a while but may have relocated to Dorset in later years where she was living in Bridport by 1939. What became of her is uncertain.
Their daughter May was married in 1917 to Harry Nixon; it is also not clear what became of her but it is possible she died in Leicester just one year after her marriage.
What became of daughter Isabel is not currently known.
Their son James later worked as a plasterer; he later married Grace Maud Ellery Hughes (1905-1983) and raised a family in Yeovil, Somerset where he died in 1986.