Encyclopedia Titanica

Richard Fry

J. Bruce Ismay's Valet

Richard Thomas Fry
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.

Family members believe that Bruce Ismay took Richard's wife (Mary Ann Burton) and two children into his household after the sinking of the Titanic, presumably out of gratitude for the role Fry played in helping him to safety and for his length of service.

Fry's 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).   She lived in Eastcote, Ruislip and died in 2003 aged 96. 

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. 

Notes

  1. Records vary in spelling between Barton and Burton

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Richard Thomas Fry
Age: 39 years 4 months and 22 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Married to Mary Ann Burton
Last Residence: in Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 112058
Cabin No. B102
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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Documents and Certificates

(1912) Contract Ticket List, White Star Line (Southampton, Queenstown), National Archives, London; BT27/776,780
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Comment and discuss

  1. Bill Fry

    Bill Fry said:

    Looking for details of Richard Fry, may be a distant relation of mine. How can I get further details, a death certificate? Regards Bill Bill Fry Maidenhead England

  2. Paul Lee

    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

  3. Andrew J. Evano

    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.

  4. Annnicholas1

    Annnicholas1 said:

    VISITED THE TITANIC VISITOR ON "INTERNATIONAL DRIVE IN ORLANDO FLORIDA" WHEN I WAS A CHILD I WAS TOLD MY DAD COUSIN DIED ON TITANIC WHEN IT SANK. SO WHEN I WAS THERE I LOOKED FOR HIS NAME, I SPENT TIME LOOKING AT 3RD CLASS BUT MY FREIND FOUND IT IN 1ST CLASS, IT WAS QUITE HIGH UP AND DIFFACULT FOR ME TO FIND AS i AM A WHEELCHAIR USER, BUT IT WAS SAD BUT GOOD TO FIND. THIS HAS INSPIRED ME TOO WANT FIND OUT MORE.... DAD WAS CALLED JACK/JOHN RICHARD MY BROTHER JOHN REICHARD SAXON .

  5. Sarah Gray

    Sarah Gray said:

    Richard Fry was my great-grandfather. His daughter - Winifred had 3 children - Margaret, Richard and Brian (my father). Winifred died in 2003 - not in Manchester as reported in the article, but in Ruislip, Middlesex. Her mother, Mary Ann Burton and her two children - Winifred and Ronald were taken into the Ismay household after their father's death on the Titanic.

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Acknowledgements

Gavin Bell, UK
Sarah Gray