Mr James Walpole was born in Southport, Lancashire, England in early 1864 and was baptised that same year on 27 March.
He was the son of Henry Walpole (b. 1829) an upholsterer, and Ann Dickson (b. 1830), natives of Wigan and Liverpool, respectively who had married in St James' Church, Birkdale on 15 February 1858.
He had six known siblings: Eleanor (b. 1858), William Henry (b. 1859), Elizabeth (b. 1862), Horace (1865-1946), Mary Ann (b. 1868) and Emily (b. 1870).
James first appears on the 1871 census living at 5 Balls Place, North Meols, Lancashire; his father had died early the following year and his mother had become a laundress to support her family. He therefore went to work at an early age and by the time of the 1881 census was still living with his family at 5 Balls Place and described as a page boy. He would be absent from the family home by the time of the 1891 census, then 36 Toxteth (?) Street, North Meols and his mother died in 1893.
James was shown on the 1901 census, then described as a ship's steward, boarding at 17 Lime Street, Southport with his brother Horace, a newsagent; this was the home of his sister Emily Browne and her family, an address he had lived at and would continue to do so for several years. Emily's husband, William E. Browne, was a solicitor's clerk.
James had made several voyages aboard Majestic as pantry steward in the late 1890s and early 1900s and by around 1903 began a long-term service aboard Cedric in the same capacity. Apparently a veteran of the White Star Line for around thirty years, he had also served aboard Britannic and Adriatic and was aboard Olympic at the time of the Hawke collision. It appears he may have become friendly with Alfred Maytum, the two men serving aboard several ships together.
At the time of the 1911 census he was shown as a visitor to 12 Rugby House, Stafford Road, Southampton and he was described as an unmarried ship's steward. Also visiting at the time was Alfred Maytum and his family.
Walpole was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 12 Stafford Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic and as chief pantryman he received monthly wages of £7.
Walpole died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. He left £2185, 10s to his brother Horace Walpole, a newspaper vendor.
James Walpole (2nd from right) with other members of the crew, possibly standing next to Alfred Maytum (2nd from left)
Courtesy of Gwen and Phil Charnock