Encyclopedia Titanica

Robert Edward Steel

Substitute Titanic Crew Member

Robert Edward Steel was born in Guernsey in the Channel Islands in 1882 and grew up in Southampton.

He was the son of Robert Steel (b. 1859 in Leith, Midlothian, Scotland), a seaman and ship's rigger, and his wife Mary (b. 1860 in Guernsey) who had married around 1881. He had one sibling, a sister named Mary "May" Ann (later Mrs Alfred Charles Gapper, 1884-1929).

He first appeared on the 1891 census when he, his mother and sister were living at 12 Anglesea Terrace, St Mary, Southampton. He most likely went to sea at a young age and when the 1901 census was conducted both he and his sister were absent from the family home, then 27 Paget Street, St Mary. His sister was listed elsewhere as a servant at 3 The Polygon, All Saints, Southampton. Again absent from the 1911 census, Robert's parents were by then living at 2 Nelson Street, Southampton.

Steel was taken onto Titanic as a substitute after several crewmembers reported late for departure. His engagement, alongside that of fellow trimmer Alfred Cotton, was so hurried that no details of their address or previous ship was recorded. As a trimmer Steel could expect to earn monthly wages of £5, 10s.

Robert Steel, who was unmarried, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in The Hampshire Independent (unknown date):

STEEL--April 15th, 1912, at sea, on S.S. Titanic, Robert Edward Steel, the beloved and only son of Robert and Mary Steel, of 2, Nelson Street, Chapel, Southampton.



Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Robert Edward Steel
Born: circa.1882
Age: 30 years (Male)
Nationality: Channel Islander
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Trimmer
Embarked: Southampton
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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Comment and discuss

  1. suzanne scott said:

    my grandfathers uncle and grandfather were both on the titanic - both named robert (edward) steele. Only one was officially recognised - we always thought it was robert snr - they were both trimmers. Robert snr was already working on the titanic - his son apparently decided to join him at southampton and, we assume, signed on onboard - my grandfather carried his case to the gangplank and that was the last they saw of either of them. Compensation was paid to his grandmother but only for one as only one was recognised as being on the ship. Crew manifest only shows one but lists him as... Read full post

  2. avatar

    Ryan McKeefery said:

    Suzanne... I have searched ET for you, but this is all I have found: ======================================================= Mr Robert Edward Steel Mr Robert Edward Steel, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. Sources United States Senate, Washington 1912. no. 806, Crew List Acknowledgements Bill Wormstedt, US

  3. Lester Mitcham said:

    Hello Suzanne, The Robert Steel who signed on was a "Substitute" Crew member. - On the opening page of this web-site under "People" go to "Other Groups" then to "Crew Signing-on Sheets". Look under: "Substitutes Engaged". He was so late signing-on that most of his personnel details are omitted. The Signing-on Sheets are part of Public Record Office document BT 100 Case No C.240 the name of the dependants were Robert & Mary... Read full post

  4. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Suzanne, I revised the title, so that it better reflects what is being discussed. Plus, I moved this thread to here where it's more appropriate.

  5. suzanne scott said:

    Thanks everyone. Lester we are 100% sure they were both on the ship - this box is so tiny notsure if i'll be able to fit it in and it's a Bit difficult to go into it all here so i'll try sending you a direct message! It's a real mystery!

  6. avatar

    Brian J. Ticehurst said:

    Suzanne - Hello Good Morning- here is my entries for Mr. Scot - I hope they help? Any other questions please ask - Brian Steel, Robert Edward. Lived at 2 Nelson Street, Chapel, Southampton. Occupation - Trimmer. (Place of birth - Unknown). (Death Notice Southern Daily Echo 27th April 1912 and Hampshire Independent 4th May 1912). Steel, Robert Edward Beloved and only Son of Robert and Mary Steel, of 2, Nelson Street, Chapel. (From: Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklet, March 1913) Number 240. Steel, Robert, father and Mary, mother. Both class G dependants. (From the... Read full post

  7. suzanne scott said:

    thanks for that brian - this gets more strange by the minute!!!! and yes the whole family (including my grandad and his mother) were living at the nelson street address. i'm now curious as to why the whole family - thought they were both on the ship. gets more interesting by the minute!

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Gavin Bell, UK

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Robert Edward Steel (ref: #1669, last updated: 11th August 2017, accessed 27th October 2021 20:52:38 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/robert-edward-steel.html