John Cress Brookman was born in Woolston, Hampshire, England in early 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 to William Brookman (1853-1899) 2, a hawker and native of Southampton in 1887 and the couple had a further two children that are known of: William Charles (b. 1887) and Ellen Ada (1890-1897).
He 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. late 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 Charles are 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. 1889 in Southampton)
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 34 Richmond Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As a third class steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Brookman died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Alice Brookman received financial aid of 15s 0d from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund. She was remarried in 1919 to Edward Windebank and had two (?) sons. She later lived at 109 Manor Farm Road, Southampton and died on 22 December 1960.
Clare Church, UK
- Birth registered in first quarter of 1884 as John Pibworth
- Whether William Brookman was John's biological father is uncertain. No father's name was given in his baptismal record.
Lymington Chronicle, 25 April 1912, p.5
Agreement and Account of Crewop.cit.
Lymington Chronicle, op. cit.
Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)
White Star Line (1912.) Record of Bodies and Effects (Passengers and Crew S.S. "Titanic") Recovered by Cable Steamer "MacKay Bennett" Including Bodies Buried at Sea and Bodies Delivered at Morgue in Halifax, N.S.
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklets and Minute Books: 5th Schedule - Part 1. Class F, Case No. 308