Encyclopedia Titanica

John Cress Brookman

Mr John Cress Brookman was born in Woolston, Hampshire, England on 4 April 1884 1 and he was baptised on 17 December that same year. 
He was the son of Ellen "Nellie" Ada Pibworth (b. 1864 in Portsmouth) who was unmarried at the time of his birth. She was later married in Southampton in 1887 to William Brookman (1853-1899)2, a hawker and native of Southampton and the couple had a further three children: William Charles (1887-1976), Ellen Ada (1890-1897) and Kate (1897-1897).

John first appears on the 1891 census living at 43 Russell Street, St Mary, Southampton. His father died in 1899 and his mother apparently was remarried that same year to Charles Figgins (b. 1864 in Lymington, Hampshire), a dock labourer, although it appears that the marriage was not official. The couple would have three children, two of whom died in infancy. Their surviving child was Charles (b. 5 October 1901 in Southampton as Charles Brookman).

John's mother and stepfather appear on the 1901 census living together at College Street, St Mary, Southampton but neither John or his brother William were present, both perhaps already at sea. His mother and stepfamily later resettled in Lymington, Hampshire and appear on the 1911 census living at Cannon Street. John himself appears on the same census living at 34 Richmond Street, Southampton, the home of his cousins Mr and Mrs George Young. He was described as a ship's steward and as unmarried.

John was married on 7 April 1912, just three days before he set sail on Titanic on 10 April. His bride was Alice Roberts (b. 3 December 1890 in Southampton), a domestic servant. They had no children.

When he signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 Brookman gave his address as 34 Richmond Street, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a third-class steward, he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

John Brookman died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His death notice was recorded in the Hampshire Independent (18 May 1912):

BROOKMAN, John--Steward, age 28, beloved husband of Alice Brookman, 34 Richmond St.

Alice Brookman, a widow after just a week of marriage, received financial aid of 15s from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund. She was remarried in 1919 to Edward John Windebank (b. circa 1886) and had two sons, John Edward (1922-1997) and Frederick (b. 1929). Widowed a second time on 30 January 1935, Alice was by then living at 109 Manor Farm Road, Southampton where she would remain for the rest of her life and where she passed away on 22 December 1960.


  1. Birth registered in first quarter of 1884 as John Pibworth
  2. Whether William Brookman was John's biological father is uncertain. No father's name was given in his baptismal record.

Newspaper Articles

Lymington Chronicle (25 April 1912) , p.5
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Gavin Bell, UK
Clare Church, UK

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr John Cress Brookman
Age: 28 years and 11 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Alice Roberts
Occupation: 3rd Class Steward
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Southampton on Thursday 4th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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