Richard Thomas Fry

Mr Richard Thomas Fry was born at 45 Henry Street in Pentonville, London, England on 23 November 1872.

He was the son of George Fry (b. 1849), a photographer and artist, and Eliza Emma, née Willshire (b. 1850), both Marylebone, London natives who had married in Westminster on 29 May 1866.

His known siblings were: George (b. 1868), Anne (b. 1870), Keziah (b. 1875), Adelaide (b. 1878), Charles (b. 1880), Archibald (b. 1882) and Rosalind Gladys (b. 1890).

The entire family shifted from London to the northeast of England around 1880 and settled in Coatham, a village near Redcar in north Yorkshire. The family appeared there on the 1881 census living at Station Road. They would move before the turn of the century to Sheffield in southern Yorkshire and appeared there on the 1891 census living at 39 Spring Hill, Hallam in that city. Richard was not listed with his family and is recorded elsewhere as a footman in the home of a wealthy manufacturing family in Meltham near Huddersfield in western Yorkshire. His mother is believed to have died shortly after the 1891 census was conducted and his father was still living by the time of the 1901 census, then a visitor with his youngest daughter Rosalind, at the home of his eldest daughter Keziah (then Mrs Sidney Harris) and her family in Hallam, Sheffield. What became of him is not certain.

By the time of the 1901 census Richard was a butler to the wealthy Pilkington family of Rainford Hall in Rainford near Prescot in Lancashire.

He was married on 24 August 1904 in St Anne's Church, Aigburth, Liverpool to Mary Ann Burton (b. 1875), a native of Cardiff, Wales. He was then described as a butler and his wife as a domestic servant. The couple had two children: Winifred (b. 5 April 1906) and Ronald (b. 26 June 1907).

The family appeared on the 1911 census living at 24 Rose Lane, Mossley Hill, Allerton, Liverpool and Fry was described as a manservant.

Richard was the personal valet to Joseph Bruce Ismay and had reportedly been in his employ for close to a decade. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton (ticket number 112058) with Mr Ismay and Ismay's secretary William Henry Harrison. During the voyage, he occupied cabin B-102.
Richard Fry died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

Following the disaster what became of his wife is not currently known.

His daughter Winifred was married in London in 1929 to chemist Daniel David Davies (1903-1972). They raised a family and one of their sons was named Richard (b. 1934). Winifred apparently moved to Manchester where she died in 2003. 

His son Ronald later worked as a draper's salesman and was married in London in 1937 to Annie Vera Elizabeth Tromp (1909-1974). After living in London for many years, Ronald died in Devon in 1997. 


  1. Records vary in spelling between Barton and Burton

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Paul Lee said:

    He was servant to J.B.Ismay and perished in the sinking: his body was never recovered. I cannot help but recall Guggenheim and his manservant who stuck together and decided to "dress in their best". Why do you suppose Ismay's servant didn't do the same? I've had a look on the Titanic Inquiry Project, and a quick look doesn't reveal any pages in which Ismay and Fry were mentioned together. I can't even recall anyone saying that they say Fry that night. Paul

  2. Andrew J. Evano said:

    It seems that they weren't together that night. When asked during the American Inquiry Ismay says that after the collission he spoke to no other passengers that he knew. I would assume that he also meant Mr. Fry. He mentions going back to his room after stepping into the hall and getting dressed and speaking with the Capt. on the bridge but never Mr. Fry. I know this isnt a definitive answer as I am looking into anything else I might have. But just wanted to give you a heads up.

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Gavin Bell, UK

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) Richard Thomas Fry (ref: #126, last updated: 3rd August 2018, accessed 29th July 2021 20:17:52 PM)

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