Mr John Coleman (Mess steward, engineering) was born in Queenstown, Co Cork, Ireland on 20 June 1854. He was the son of John Coleman, a farmer, and his wife Mary (née Leary ?).
Coleman settled in England as a young man and joined the Royal Navy on 27 June 1877. His first ship was the Revenge and he worked upon her as a shipwright. He would work as shipwright and carpenter aboard other ships, including: Thunderer, Duke of Wellington, Asia, Excellent, Humber, Euphrates, and Republic before finalising his naval career aboard Champion on 9 February 1886. Of good character, he stood at 5' 7" and had light brown hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion.
At the time of his marriage in St Nicholas' Church, Liverpool on 3 July 1879 to Rose Ann Campbell (b. 1851 in Dundalk, Co Louth, Ireland) he was described as a ship's steward. The couple would have one child who died in infancy.
The whereabouts of John and his wife following their marriage is unknown and they may have resettled in their native Ireland before returning to England. Rose "Rosanna" Coleman was listed at their home address, 13 Gladstone Road, Walton on the Hill, Liverpool on the 1901 England census but John was absent.
He may have rejoined the Royal Navy; an Irish-born John Coleman, of the correct age, was then listed as serving on the Royal Sovereign, then stationed in Grand Harbour, Malta, and is listed as a carpenter. Whether this is the same John Coleman is not certain.
Perhaps moving to Southampton around the same time of the White Star Line's migration from Liverpool, John and his wife appear on the 1911 census living at 7 Mortimer Road, Itchen and he is described as a ship's steward for the White Star Line.
When John signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 7 Mortimer Road, Itchen. His previous ship had been the Majestic. As a mess steward he could expect monthly wages of £6.
John Coleman died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His widow seems to have returned to Liverpool where she died only a year later.