Mr John Herbert Strugnell was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England in the latter half of 1878 and was baptised on 18 May 1879 in St John The Baptist Church, Liverpool.
He was the son of John Strugnell (1845-1920) and Elizabeth Gibson (1849-1897). His father was originally from Poole, Dorset and his mother was Liverpudlian and they were married in Liverpool on 18 July 1869.
John had six known siblings: Florence Emily (b. 1874), Ada (b. 1876), Elizabeth (b. 1880), Ernest Alexander (b. 1884), Amy Gertrude (b. 1886) and Harold (b. 1889).
John first appears on the 1881 census when he and his family were living at 52 Twiss Street, Toxteth Park; his father was described as a head warehouseman. The family are at 43 Alwyn Street, Toxteth Park by the time of the 1891 census as John is still at school. His mother passed away in 1897 and on the following 1901 census John is still at home with his widowed father and siblings who are all still living at 43 Alwyn Street with John now described, as is his father, as a warehouseman.
Later in 1901 he began a seafaring career, his first ship believed to have been Ontario, and by the latter half of the year had made several trips aboard Cymric, his address around this time being 82 Garmoyle Road. In 1904 he was working aboard Cedric and by 1906 had made a number of voyages aboard Majestic.
In October 1907 he was initiated as a freemason.
On the 1911 census John was listed as a visitor at 30 Oxford Street, Southampton, Hampshire and was described as an unmarried ship's steward. Accompanying him at this address was Titanic steward Humphrey Lloyd. His father and several of his siblings were by now living at 14 Birnam Road, Liscard, Cheshire.
Strugnell was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 38 The Polygon, Southampton and his previous ship as the Olympic. As a first-class saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
John Strugnell died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. According to a newspaper report, his younger brother Harold had died only a few days before, also aboard ship:
The feared death of Mr. John H Strugnall, a purser's clerk [sic] on board the ill-fated Titanic, has come as a poignant blow to his father, brother, and sisters, who were formerly well-known residents of Toxteth Park, and now reside in Wallasey. Only a few days ago news reached the family of the death from fever on board a Houston steamer in South America of the youngest of the three sons. As may be imagined, the bereavement and the present suspense are tragically distressing and are eliciting the sincere condolence of a wide circle of friends. - Liverpool Daily Post, 19 April 1912
His father died in Birkenhead, Cheshire in 1920.
STRUGNELL In loving memory of HAROLD STRUGNELL, of Merseyside. 3rd Officer of the Homereus, who died on board on March 30. 1912 and was burled in Caimanera, Cuba, also his brother HERBERT (John) a crew member of the S.S. Titanic, of Liverpool, who was lost with it on April 15, 1912. Remembered by their niece and nephew Ena and Harold Kirkby Johnson, 8 Hawthorn Way, Royston, Herts. - Liverpool Echo, 30 March 1985