Mr James Thomas Wood was born in Crayford, Kent, England in early 1863.
He was the son of John Wood (b. 1835), an iron turner and fitter, and Ruth Thorn (b. 1837), natives of Hertfordshire and Berkshire respectively. The couple initially settled in Tring, Hertfordshire where their first three children were born before moving to Crayford.
James' known siblings were: Albert Howes (1856-1937), John William (b. 1858), Jonathan Edward (1861-1930), George Thorn (b. 1864), Edwin Blanch (b. 1870) and Oliver Joseph (1871-1950). His brother John later served as the postmaster of Hythe, Kent
James appears with his family on the 1871 census living on London Road, Crayford and on the 1881 census on the Main Dover Road, also in Crayford. By the time of the latter record he is aged 18 and described as a tailor's apprentice, a profession he would later leave behind.
By the early 1890s James wound up living, for reasons unknown, in South Australia. He was married in Trinity Church, Adelaide on 4 March 1890 to former school teacher Sarah Wisdom (b. 1864), also of Crayford and daughter of George and Elizabeth Wisdom.
During 1891 Wood worked as a storekeeper in Booleroo Centre, South Australia; it was there that year that his daughter Grace was born; she would be followed by another daughter named Adelaide Ruth (b. 1894).
When the family returned to England is not clear but by the time of the 1901 census they were living at 91 Edwin Street, Gravesend, Kent and James was described as a ship's steward. By the time of the 1911 census James was absent, presumably at sea, whilst his wife and daughter Adelaide are listed as living at 14 Cumberland Avenue, Milton Road, Gravesend. The family later moved to Clapton, London.
After serving for several years aboard Oceanic, James was allegedly persuaded to join Titanic for her maiden voyage. He signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, and gave his address as 7 Narford Road, Upper Clapton, London and his previous ship as the Oceanic. As a second class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
James Wood died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His widow was later assisted financially by the Titanic Relief Fund as a class E dependent.
What became of James' widow and daughter Grace is not known; his daughter Adelaide was married in 1922 to Charles Ernest Maher before her death in Ealing, London in 1954.