Mr Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche

Joseph Laroche

Mr Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche was born in Cap Haitien, Haiti on 26 May 1886. In 1901, at age 15, he left Haiti and travelled to Beauvais, France, where he hoped to join the high school to study engineering.

While visiting nearby Villejuif Joseph met Miss Juliette Lafargue; After Joseph graduated and got his degree, he and Juliette were married in March of 1908. Their daughter Simonne was born 19 February 1909; a second daughter, Louise, was born prematurely on 2 July 1910, and suffered many subsequent medical problems.

Racial discrimination prevented Joseph Laroche from obtaining a high-paying job in France. Since the family needed more money to cope with Louise's medical bills, Joseph decided to return to Haiti to find a better-paying engineering job, the move being planned for 1913.

In March 1912, however, Juliette discovered that she was pregnant, so she and Joseph decided to leave for Haiti before her pregnancy became too far advanced for travel. Joseph's mother in Haiti bought them steamship tickets on the La France as a welcome present, but the line's strict policy regarding children caused them to transfer their booking to the Titanic's second class. On April 10 the Laroche family took the train from Paris to Cherbourg in order to board the brand new liner later that evening.

Joseph - who is thought to have been the only black passenger on the Titanic - died in the sinking but his family were saved, possibly in lifeboat 14.



Laroche Family
Memorial card for Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche, 1912
Back of memorial card in memory of Joseph Laroche
Genuine White Star Line envelope saved by Mme Laroche
Brochure saved from the Titanic by mme Laroche
Louise Laroche in 1996
Louise Laroche at her home
Louise Laroche and actor Paul Rudd in Paris
Restaurant à la Carte coupon (back)
Restaurant à la Carte coupon (front)
Tianic postcard bought by Mme Laroche
The Laroche family
S.S. Chicago
Liner France

Articles and Stories

Le Matin (1912) 


George Behe, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Olivier Mendez, France

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage (PRO London, BT 100/259-260)
Judith Geller (1998) Titanic: Women and Children First. Haynes. ISBN 1 85260 594 4
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2018) Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #486, updated 21st September 2018 05:45:19 AM)

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