Encyclopedia Titanica

Leonard Hodgkinson

Leonard Hodgkinson

Mr Leonard Hodgkinson was born on 20 February 1866 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.

He was the son of John Hodgkinson (1833-1898), a potter's presser, and Caroline Steele (1834-1914), both Stoke natives who had married on 21 February 1853. He had six known siblings: Martha (b. 1854), Rose (b. 1855), John (b. 1859), Agnes (b. 1864), Lawrence (b. 1873) and Mary (b. 1876).
He first appears on the 1871 census living at 20 North Street and on the 1881 census at 5 Knowl Street, both in Stoke. By the time of the latter census he is described as an engine fitter's apprentice and aged 15. After schooling at St. Thomas's School, Stoke, Leonard become an apprentice engine fitter with the firm of Hartley, Armour and Fanning in Stoke.

Leonard first went to sea with the Beaver Line and then Rankin, Gilmour & Co. He appears on numerous voyages across 1890 and 1891 aboard Lake Superior and Lake Ontario as 5th and 4th Engineer respectively. He achieved his First Class Engineer's Certificate and served as Chief on the Saint Jerome. By 1901, during a temporary break from seafaring, he was running his own business as a mechanical engineer and living at 40 Oakfield Road, Walton on the Hill, Liverpool. He was back at sea with the White Star Line in 1905 as Assistant Engineer in the Celtic. According to family lore Hodgkinson had aimed to serve on as many different liners of the White Star Line as possible before retirement, so was keen to transfer to Titanic prior to which he had served aboard the Olympic.

He had been married in Liverpool on 14 February 1891 to Sarah Clarke (b. 1867), a native of Birmingham, and for a while they may have lived with his sister and brother in law at 10 Helena Street, Walton on the Hill, Liverpool. The couple had three children, all born in Liverpool: Marion (1893-1979, later Mrs Arthur Pinnington), Caroline (1895-1924, later Mrs Albert Portch) and Leonard Stanley (1898-1947). The family show up on the 1901 census living at 40 Oakfield Road, Walton, Liverpool and on the 1911 census at 7 Thurnham Street, Anfield. Leonard is absent from the latter census and likely at sea.

On 2 April 1912 Hodgkinson signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton.  When he signed-on again (6 April) as Senior 4th Engineer, for the maiden voyage he gave his local address as 67 Arthur Road, Shirley, Southampton although his permanent residence was Thurnham Street, Liverpool.

Hodgkinson was the most senior of five Fourth Engineers (one of whom was a specialist for the refrigeration equipment). The qualified engineers on Titanic ensured that routine adjustments and regular maintenance of the machinery were properly carried out, dealt with any unexpected problems that might arise, and responded to orders telegraphed from the bridge. They also supervised the firemen, trimmers and greasers who worked in the boiler and engine rooms.

Hodgkinson, along with all the engineers, died in the disaster and his body was never recovered.

His estate, valued at £116, 10s, 10d, was administered to his widow Sarah on 8 July 1912.

Hodgkinson is remembered on the Southampton Engineers Memorial, East Park; the Liverpool Titanic and Engineers memorial; the Glasgow Institute of Marine Engineers memorial; the Institute of Marine Engineers memorial, London and there is a brass memorial plaque in the church of St. Faithful, Crosby, Liverpool, to the memory of the Chief Engineer and his Engine Room staff.

His widow Sarah did not live long past her husband; she later moved to 34 Auburn Road, Liverpool and died on 25 February 1914. His last surviving child was his eldest daughter Marion who died in Cheshire in 1979.

The following memorial appeared in the Liverpool Echo on 15 April 1914:

HODGKINSON--In loving memory of our dear father Leonard Hodgkinson, engineer, who lost his life on the R.M.S. Titanic, April 15, 1912; also our dear mother, who died February 25, 1914. (Never forgotten by their dear children, Marion, Carrie and Stanley).


  • His mother lived for a time at Shelton Old Road, Stoke she is thought to have died in mid 1914.
  • His daughter Marion moved to Manchester in 1916.  She married William Arthur Pinnington on the 23rd December, 1920 in Urmston, Lancashire.  They had 2 children Renee (born 1921, Chorlton) and William (Bill) A. (born 1924, Barton upon Irwell).
  • His son Leonard Stanley also became a marine engineer with White Star and later Cunard.  He served on the Transatlantic run most of his career mainly on RMS Majestic befoe the war and later on the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth.  He married Elsie H. Murray in Southampton in 1922. Their first son Leonard W. Hodgkinson (born 1923, Southampton) died his home town in 1926 at the age of just 3.  A second son Allan S. Hodgkinson (born 1924, Southampton) would later join the Hampshire police.
  • Younger daughter Caroline married Albert Portch 1919 in Bath she died in 1926.  Their only son was Albert Leonard Stanley Portch (born 1920, Melksham) he served as Pilot Officer Royal Air Force during World War 2.  He was killed in Action 4th April, 1943 whilst serving with 156 Pathfinder Squadron and was buried in Kiel War Cemetery.
  • Leonard Hodgkinson's younger brother Lawrence lived in Seaford Street, Stoke and worked at Sherratts outfitters in Piccadilly, Hanley.  In 1898 he married Elizabeth Heath and by 1901 they had a son Cecil.
  • Hartley and Co works were later taken over by Messrs Kerr, Stuart & Co, locomotive engineers. In the 1920's they had another local young man as an apprentice named Reginald Mitchell, who later went on to design the Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane.
  • According to contemporary reports Hodgkinsons's 14-year old niece had a premonition of the disaster.

References and Sources

Hogkinson Family Tree (subscription required)
Crew Particulars of Engagement
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
1871 Census ("Scholar")
1881 Census ("Engine Fitter's Apprentice")
1901 Census ("Mechanical Engineer")
Probate Administration: 8th July 1912
Stevenson, I. (1965). Seven More Paranormal Experiences Associated with the Sinking of the Titanic. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 59, 211?225.
Encyclopedia Titanica Message Board Fourth Engineer Leonard Hodgkinson
Correspondence with Wilf Hodgkinson
Correspondence with Sherri Hodgkinson
Correspondence with Brian Ticehurst

Newspaper Articles

Staffordshire Advertiser (20 April 1912) Staffordshire Victims Of The Disaster
Daily Sketch (26 April 1912) The Heroic Engineers Who Went Down To A Man
Search archive online


Gavin Bell, UK
George Behe, USA
Gary Cooper, UK
Bob Godfrey, UK
Denis Griffiths, UK
Anne Hilary Reader, UK
Wilf Hodgkinson, UK
Sherri Hodgkinson, Canada
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK

Comment and discuss

  1. Gary Cooper

    Does anyone know if is mentioned in any of the various accounts of the disaster? He was born in Stoke on Trent and I have a few details of his early life, but would like to flesh his life story out a bit more if possible. Also, as fourth engineer what would his duties have been on the Titanic?
  2. Bob Godfrey

    Hodgkinson was the Senior of five Fourth Engineers (one of whom was a specialist for the refrigeration equipment). The role of qualified engineers on Titanic was basically to ensure that routine adjustments and regular maintenance of the machinery were properly carried out, to deal with any unexpected problems that might arise, and of course to respond promptly to orders telegraphed from the bridge. No less important was supervision of the work of the small army of firemen, trimmers and greasers who worked in the boiler and engine rooms. By virtue of his seniority and experience, Hodgkinson would have been better qualified than the more junior engineers to deal with any problems arising from within the ranks of the 'black gang'. He was not mentioned at either of the Inquiries. The only references I have seen are in a couple of stories passed down through the family, which I will relate without comment. One is that Hodgkinson aimed to serve on as many different liners of the... Read full post
  3. George Behe

    Hi, Bob! Can you give us any other information about the experience of Anna Lewis? I'd like to add this account to my file of Titanic-related 'psychic' phenomena and would appreciate any additional details you might be able to supply. Thanks very much. All my best, George
  4. Bob Godfrey

    Hi, George - your radar is working well tonight! Anna was spending the night with her grandmother (Hodgkinson's mother) in Stoke-on-Trent and was sleeping in the same room. Neither of them were aware at the time that Hodgkinson was on The Titanic. In the dream, she was standing by a road in Trentham Park, looking at the lake. A large ship is sailing on the lake: Suddenly it lowered at one end and I heard a terrific scream. I must have woke up making a noise because I frightened Gran. She said, "No more suppers for you,lady; dreams are a pack of daft" after I had told her what I'd seen. After a while I must have gone to sleep again and saw the very same scene, and when the people screamed I must have done the same. Gran was real livid with me this time. I first came across this story on a website (in French!) and it is also mentioned in the book 'How to Travel through Time' by children's writer James M Deem, which is the source of the quoted passage above. Hope that's of some... Read full post
  5. George Behe

    Hi, Bob! >Hope that's of some use. Absolutely! Thanks very much for taking the time to look up the info and transcribe it for me -- much appreciated! Nice to talk with you again, Bob. All my best, George
  6. Bob Godfrey

    Good to talk to you too, George. Deem's book may not be the most reliable (he admits to being influenced by a disreputable tome called 'Titanic: Psychic Forewarnings of a Tragedy' :-)), but he was not the source of the Anna Lewis story as he doesn't mention the geographical locations. The French source does include these locations and states that Anna recounted the story long after the event. I'd guess the primary source was a letter or interview in a local newspaper some time after the discovery of the wreck but before 1993, when Deem's book was published, but that's as far as I can take it. Bob
  7. Gary Cooper

    Ah, so he was the first among equals, that answers another question, why he was sometimes referred to as 'senior' fourth engineer. Thanks very much for the quick, in-depth explanation.
  8. Bob Godfrey

    Gary, the variety of rankings among the engineering officers on a vessel as large as the Titanic can certainly be confusing. On smaller vessels there would generally be only one officer at each level, but the big liners needed more manpower. The difference in status as reflected in monthly salaries was as below: Senior Fourth £14 Junior Fourth £13 Senior Assistant Fourth £11 Junior Assistant Fourth £10 Engineering officers on large liners were often 'over-qualified' and had held higher rank on smaller vessels. Hogkinson, for instance, held a First Class Engineer's Certificate, which qualified him to serve as Chief Engineer as he had on at least one other vessel.
  9. Gary Cooper

    Bob, such over-qualification seems to have been the case with the deck officers as well, from what I have read. Their exams having been passed,I presume the engineers like the deck officers would then have to then climb the greasy pole on the basis of 'sea-time', accrued on different vessels, or just plain seniority when others retired or moved on? Do you know which ship Hodgkinson was Chief Engineer aboard? Gary p.s. Thanks for the wages - very useful.
  10. Bob Godfrey

    That's right, Gary. A lot of ambitious deck officers held Master's Certificates long before they obtained a command, if ever. Paper qualifications, while required by the Board of Trade regs, were no substitute for experience. And experience on a vessel as large as an Olympic Class liner often involved an apparent drop down the ladder which was not regarded as a demotion. Immediately prior to Titanic, Hodgkinson served on the Olympic. Earlier in his career he had been Chief Engineer on the St Jerome, which was probably owned by Rankin, Gilmour & Co. I have no idea what kind of vessel that was, but there are probably people here who do! I doubt it was more than a tenth the size of the Titanic and probably employed only two engineering officers.
  11. Gary Cooper

    Thanks very much Bob, you've certainly given me more information than I expected to get and a few new things to look into. It's all for a good cause, I'm currently compiling a history of Stoke-on-Trent in the 20th century and the Titanic will make an interesting departure from stories about mining and pottery. That other local lad, Captain Smith, will of course carry the story, but Leonard Hodgkinson also deserves his place in the tale. Gary
  12. George Behe

    Hi, Bob! I've done a bit of sleuthing and have discovered where the "Anna Lewis" account came from -- it originally appeared in Dr. Ian Stevenson's paper, "Seven More Paranormal Experiences Connected With the Sinking of the Titanic." I guess it was the name "Anna Lewis" that originally caught me off guard, since Dr. Stevenson's account was given to him by the percipient herself, Mrs. Charles Hughes, in a letter she wrote to him in 1963. Mrs. Hughes' letter did not mention her own maiden name, however, and I suspect that the two later sources which you mentioned in your posting may have "created" a maiden name for her in order to make the story less complicated. Aside from the fictitious name "Anna Lewis," though, the abbreviated story that you related in your posting is faithful to the information contained in the letter which Dr. Stevenson transcribed in his paper. Thanks for drawing my attention to this account, Bob -- much appreciated All my best, George
  13. Bob Godfrey

    Gary, it's good to see some of the lesser known faces getting a small share of the immortality accorded to the rich and famous! For your file, here's a bit more info about Mr Hodgkinson in addition to the brief details in his ET biography. He was born in 1866 in Stoke (not liverpool, as stated in some sources). His parents were John and Caroline; John was a potter's presser. Leonard left school to become an apprentice engine fitter with the firm of Hartley, Armour and Fanning in Stoke. At that time he was living with his parents at 5, Knowl Street. At the time of his marriage in 1891 (I believe to Sarah Clarke) he was resident in Liverpool. The first phase of his career at sea involved work with the Beaver Line and Rankin, Gilmour & Co. This was the period when he achieved his First Class Engineer's Certificate and served as Chief on the Saint Jerome. By 1901, during a temporary break from seafaring, he was running his own business as a mechanical engineer but he was back... Read full post
  14. Gary Cooper

    Bob, this is becoming a very profitable conversation, I think a information swap is in order, though you have supplied much more than I can offer. Here are the few facts I have about Leonard Hodgkinson, which I culled long ago from a 1912 edition of the local paper the 'Staffordshire Sentinel', you might find them of interest. According to the article, Leonard was born at 20 North Street, Stoke (the road still exists, as do a few old houses, but the site of No. 20 and neighbouring properties is now occupied by a social club).He was apparently the fifth child and second son of John and Catherine Hodgkinson , so I suppose there must be two older children missing from the 1881 census return. Educated at St Thomas' School, Stoke, Leonard started his apprenticeship on leaving and his career developed as you have mentioned. The article ended by mentioning that there were several relatives of his still living in the Potteries, his mother was resident in Shelton Old Road, Stoke, while his... Read full post
  15. Bob Godfrey

    Certainly is of interest, Gary. Did the 'Sentinel' article give the names of Leonard's wife and children? If you have the book 'The Titanic Disaster as reported in the British National Press' there is a useful group photo (page 137) of Hodgkinson and about 30 fellow engineers on the Olympic. Half of this group transferred to Titanic and died with him. Send me your email address if you can use a scan. I think we should put all this together and offer an update for the brief ET biography. These very brave men deserve to be better known. What do you think? Bob

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Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Leonard Hodgkinson
Age: 46 years 1 month and 23 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Sarah Clarke
Last Residence: at 67 Arthur Road Southampton, Hampshire, England
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Belfast on Tuesday 2nd April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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