John James Charman was born in Horsham, Sussex, England on 1 May 1886. He was the son of Solomon Charman (1843-1899) and Mary Marchant (1842-1935), both Sussex natives who had married in 1870.
John had seven siblings: Solomon George (b. 1871), Albert Henry (b. 1872), Selina Mary (b. 1874), Ralph William (b. 1876), Eleanor (b. 1878), Reuben (b. 1879) and Lily (b. 1882).
John first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were living at the Gardener's Cottage, Pondtail Road in Horsham. His father was a gardener.
John's father passed away in 1899 and John, aged only 13, went into employment to help support his family (his mother was reportedly partially-sighted). He shows up on the 1901 census as a page in the employ of the Southgate family of 47 Leicester Square, London. He would continue working in London in various hospitality jobs before moving to Southampton around 1910 where he was employed by the Star Hotel on 26 High Street. He is listed here on the 1911 census and is described as an unmarried waiter. He would leave this position and go to sea; the Titanic would be his first ship.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 10 Latimer Street, Southampton, a lodgings address. As a second class steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s. He was reportedly acquainted with steward Fred Hartnell, whose father James John, was a porter at the Star Hotel.
Charman died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified1.
John is mentioned on his family's headstone in Horsham:
...Also his Son
John James Charman
Son of the above
lost his life on
April 15th 1912
John's mother remained in Horsham where she passed away on 17 July 1935. His last two surviving siblings were Reuben and Ralph who both passed away in 1973.
- Recovered body 185 has been attributed to John Charman but this is unconfirmed.
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