Encyclopedia Titanica

Robert Edward Steel

Substitute Titanic Trimmer

Mr Robert Edward Steel was born in Saint Peter Port, Guernsey in the Channel Islands on 20 July 1882.

He was the son of a Scottish father, Robert Steel (b. 1857 in Leith, Midlothian), a seaman and ship's rigger, and his wife Mary Ann, née Bargery (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).

The Steel family relocated from Guernsey to Southampton sometime between 1885 and 1890; Robert first appears 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 failed to report at the time of departure. His engagement, alongside that of fellow trimmer Alfred Cotton, was so hasty that no details of his address or previous ship was ever recorded. As a trimmer aboard Titanic, 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 (27 April 1912):

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.

Robert’s parents benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund as Class G dependents; they remained in Southampton where the elder Robert died in 1923. Robert’s mother later weathered the loss of her daughter Mary in 1929 and lived to the age of 92 before her death in Southampton in 1952.




Comment and discuss

  1. suzanne scott

    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. Ryan McKeefery

    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

    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. Jason D. Tiller

    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

    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. Brian J. Ticehurst

    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

    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!

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Robert Edward Steel
Age: 29 years 8 months and 26 days (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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