Encyclopedia Titanica

James William Smith

Mr James William Smith was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 16 December 1887. 

He was the son of James Smith and Alice Jane Sykes (b. 1865 in Southampton) who were married in Southampton in 1887 before going on to have three children. Little is known about James' father's background but he appears to have died between 1891 and 1901. 

James' siblings were Arthur Sykes (b. 1885) and Alice Elizabeth (1890-1971, later Mrs Charles Longman).

The family appear on the 1891 census as lodgers of 1 Kingston Road, Millbrook, Hampshire; by the time of the 1901 census James' father has passed away and his mother was described as a charwoman with all three of her children still at school and they were living at this time at 41 Richmond Road, Shirley, Southampton. By the time of the 1911 census James was still unmarried and living with his mother, then at 5 Sir Georges Road, Freemantle and he was described as a baker. It is not indicated if James was working at sea at this time.

When James signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 5 Sir George's Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as an assistant baker he received monthly wages of £4, 10.

Chief Baker Charles Joughin testified that he mustered all his bakers at the baker's shop shortly after midnight and had them each carry four loaves to the boat deck; Smith was likely among them.

James Smith died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified:

SMITH--James William, aged 24, the beloved son of Alice Smith, Sir George's Road, Freemantle. - Southampton Times, 18 May 1912

His mother continued to live in Southampton where she passed away in 1928. His last surviving sibling Alice died in Southampton in 1971. 

References and Sources

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

Comment and discuss

  1. Mark Rogers

    Having researched my family free as far back as the 1800s, there are certain links to James William Smith, though I'm unable to match the parent names that you have mentioned here, and I would be extremely interested if you have any certification to prove that Alice Jane Sykes was in fact his mother. A member of my family is convinced that her mother mentioned James and the fact that he lost his life at a very young age and that he may have been working on Titanic.

  2. Gavin Bell

    The census records and the published obituary for James William Smith states that his mother was Alice. It's very much indisputable that his mother was Alice, formerly Sykes. Perhaps your relative aboard Titanic was another person named Smith............

  3. Mark Rogers

    I've since joined the Ancestry.co.uk website and though some of this information checks out, I'm still not convinced that everything is correct, and though I'm unable to connect my James Smith to the Titanic, I'm still pretty sure he may have been on the ship, from conversations I've had with older members of my family.

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr James William Smith
Age: 24 years 3 months and 30 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Assistant baker
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Southampton on Thursday 4th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch