Jonathan Shepherd

Jonathan Shepherd

Jonathan Shepherd was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England on 31 March 1880.

He was the son of James Bromley Shepherd (b. 1850), an architect and surveyor, and Johanna Elizabeth Longbottom (b. 1851), natives of Whitehaven, Cumberland and Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, Ireland respectively and who had married in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1872.

One of nine children, Jonathan's known siblings were: Joseph Arthur (b. 1873), Frances (b. 1874), Margaret Honora (b. 1876), Ruth Dixon (b. 1878), John (b. 1882), Joseph (b. 1885) and Harold (b. 1889).

Jonathan appears on the 1881 census living at 12 Lowther Street in Whitehaven, Cumberland. He and his family would have moved to 9 Church Street, Whitehaven by the time of the next census in 1891. The family later moved to Blackburn, Lancashire and would show up on the 1901 census living at 4 Caton (?) Terrace. James was absent and listed elsewhere as a boarder at an address in Accrington, Lancashire where he was described as a textile machine fitter.

Jonathan had served an apprenticeship with James Davenport of Blackburn and he worked for Messrs. Howard & Bullough of Accrington and Hadfields of Sheffield before commencing a seagoing career with W. S. Kennaugh & Sons of Liverpool. Shepherd served on ships owned by James Chambers & Co. of Liverpool and joined the White Star line after obtaining his first class marine engineer's certificate of competency, serving firstly on the Adriatic and later on the Olympic. He was on the latter vessel when she struck the HMS Hawke and was reportedly one of the first to close the watertight doors following the collision.

Jonathan, who was never married, was not listed on the 1911 census; his mother had passed away in early 1911 and his widowed father and several siblings were listed as living at 27 London Road, Blackburn.

When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his lodgings address as 16 Bellevue Terrace, (Southampton). His previous ship had been the Olympic and as junior assistant second engineer he could expect monthly wages of £12, 10s.

Shepherd was on duty on the evening of 14 April 1912. After the collision he helped the other engineers rig pumps in boiler room 5 but broke his leg when he slipped into a raised access plate. Leading fireman Frederick Barrett and engineer Herbert Harvey helped him to the pump-room. Shortly afterwards the nearby bulkheads were breached and Shepherd was left helpless as the waters rose around him.

Lost in the sinking, Jonathan Shepherd's body, if recovered, was never identified.

References and Sources

Crew Particulars of Engagement
Newark Evening News, 16 April 1912, Article
Elizabeth Daily Journal, 20 April 1912, Visitor Here Confirms Death of Brother
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List

Newspaper Articles

Newark Evening News (16 April 1912) ENGINEER HAS SISTER HERE
Elizabeth Daily Journal (18 April 1912) AWAIT COMING OF CARPATHIA WITH RESCUED
Newark Star (18 April 1912) MR. STENGEL SENDS WORD HE IS SAFE
Elizabeth Daily Journal (19 April 1912) Believes Brother Lost
Elizabeth Daily Journal (19 April 1912) LEARNS SISTER WAS LOST ON FATED TITANIC (1)
Mid Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald (20 April 1912) Unknown Title (5)
Whitehaven News (2 May 1912) Local Connection with Titanic Disaster
Daily Sketch (8 May 1912) Graphic story told by leading stoker.


Jonathan Shepherd
Jonathan Shepherd

Documents and Certificates

Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund (53)


Obituary (2)

Graves and Memorials

Various Memorials (9)
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Comment and discuss

  1. avatar

    Pedro Soares said:

    Hello. I learned that the engineer Shepherd was in Boiler Room no. 5 when he broke a leg. Could anyone tell me if he was abandoned there? Did he died?

  2. Martin Pyke said:

    There's a biography of Jonathan Shepherd in TE. Type in his name in the search box.

  3. Chris Dohany said:

    George Behe has mentioned this tidbit in the past, I believe. I think leading fireman Threlfall indicated that Shepherd was removed from the boiler room entirely, rather than being placed in the adjacent pump room.

  4. avatar

    Pedro Soares said:

    Thank you, George and Martin!

  5. avatar

    Ryan McKeefery said:

    I was just doing a little research into Titanic people from my main characters locality and found a rather well known chap (at least in the Titanic community) from my own

  6. avatar

    Ryan McKeefery said:

    Anyone giz a tip?

  7. Rae Kenny-Rife said:

    Does anyone know who Jonathon Shepherd's family were? I am interested in parents and siblings, trying to see if he was a possible cousin. My grandfather was 5 when Titanic sank and remembers a cousin who was on board, my aunt thought the cousin survived and worked as an engineer, but the details could have been forgotten over time. Thanks...

  8. Tony Sheils said:

    Rae, some additional details are given in Craig Stringer's CD "Titanic People". Jonathon's parents were James B and Johanna Shepherd. He had 3 sisters: Frances, Margaret H and Ruth Dixon Shepherd. He broke a leg on the night of the disaster and died when Titanic sank. I suspect Brian Ticehurst may be in a position to provide some further details. Tony

  9. Barbara J. Davies said:

    Hello Ryan and Rae, have just read your thread. My mother is Jonathan's niece, we are the family of his brother Joseph. Maybe I can help with any further family details. Brian T has been a huge help over the years too.

  10. avatar

    Ryan McKeefery said:

    Hello Barbara! Sorry about the punctuality of my reply, but I had forgotten about my queries here for a time. Could you at all tell me where his family lived exactly?

  11. Barbara J. Davies said:

    Hi Rae, have sent further info to your e-mail address. Hope it helps!

  12. avatar

    Ryan McKeefery said:

    Thanks, Barbara. What you sent will come in handy to my research, and I hope to be bothering you again soon :o)

  13. jonathan shepherd said:

    could anyone tell me if Jonathan Shepherd who died in boiler number5 was welsh? My name is also Jonathan Shepherd and wish to find out if we are related thanks for any help

  14. Bob Godfrey said:

    Hallo, Jonathan, and welcome to the forum. Your namesake was an Englishman, born in Whitehaven, Cumberland and raised in Blackburn, Lancashire.

  15. jonathan shepherd said:

    could anyone tell me if engineer shepherd was welsh? we share the same name

  16. Mark Baber said:

    Jonathan, your question was answered when you asked it three weeks ago; look at the message just above yours. P.S. The message you posted today asking the same question in a thread relating to a different person, has been removed.

  17. Richard A. Krebes said:

    According to Frederick Barrets BOT testimony, this happened to Engineer Jonathan Shepherd: 2022. Did you stay below? - Yes. 2023. With Mr. Harvey? - Yes. 2024. Then what was the next order? - He asked me to lift the manhole plate off. 2025. Where was the manhole plate? - On the starboard side of No. 5 section. 2026. When the plate was in position what was it - closed? - It is something you lift up to get at the valves. I do not know what valves it is. It is just like a hole in this table. You lift it off to get to the valves to turn on the pumps or something. 2027. Is... Read full post

  18. avatar

    Brad Rousse said:

    I've always heard that when the bulkhead gave way, Harvey went to assist Shepard, and both engineers were engulfed before Barrett's eyes.

  19. Cevansir01 said:

    Hello Barbara - just doing a bit of research into my Shepherd Family tree, and my Great Grandfather Joseph shepherd (shipwright), born 1861, lived at 41 New St. Whitehaven (0.2 miles from Lowther street where Jonathan lived), and his children would be the same age, that bit of my family tree has gaps in it,... Read full post

  20. avatar

    Johnmeyers1965 said:

    My cousin, who is really big into genealogy, just informed me that Jonathan Shepherd was a distant cousin. I'll post more as I learn it.

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Gavin Bell, UK
Dave Fredericks, UK
Denis Griffiths, UK

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2014) Jonathan Shepherd (ref: #1654, last updated: 5th July 2014, accessed 2nd August 2021 20:53:48 PM)

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