Mr James William Smith was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in early 1888 and his birth was registered in the first quarter of that year.
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.