Encyclopedia Titanica

Philip Charles Thomas Rentowl

Titanic Fireman who signed-on as S. Sullivan

Mr Philip Charles Thomas Rentowl (S. Sullivan) was born at 3 Houndwell Place, Southampton, Hampshire, England on 31 March 1886.

He was the illegitimate son of Jane Ann Maria "Janetta" Rentowl (b. 1865)1, a Southampton-born laundress who was unmarried at the time of his birth and who was the daughter of John Rentowl and Jane Delany; the identity of Philip's father is unknown.

Philip and his mother appear on the 1891 census living on College Street, Southampton with his mother working as a laundress to provide an income. She later began a relationship with Richard Philip Raymond (1870-1934), a dock labourer although the couple were not officially married until 1912.2 Together they had six children, three surviving infancy: Violet May (1892-1936, later Mrs William R. Gregory), Bertie Edwin (1897-1966) and Nelly Maud (1900-1947, later Mrs Charles E. Millard).

Philip, his mother, step-father and half-siblings appear on the 1901 census living at 2 Holdem (?) Square, Southampton; aged 15 he had already left school and was working as a sawyer's labourer. When he went to sea is not clear but his mother and family appear on the 1911 census living at 11 Alfred Street, Southampton.

When Rentowl signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 he gave his name as "S. Sullivan" and local address as 27 Marsh Lane, Southampton.3 His previous ship had been the Orotova and as a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6.

Philip Rentowl died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

His mother Janetta later received payments from the Titanic Relief Fund; she continued to live in Southampton until her death in 1916.


  1. Spelling uncertain; Rentowl spelling as per her 1912 marriage record. Philip's birth registration spells the name Rentoll whilst the 1891 census gives the name as Rentoul. Rentowl appears to be the correct and accepted spelling.
  2. The 1911 census stated they had been married for 20 years; they were married in the second quarter of 1912 in Southampton.
  3. 27 Marsh Lane was, as per the 1911 census, the home address of elderly widow Mary Saunders and her family.


Gavin Bell, UK
Bill Wormstedt

Comment and discuss

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr Philip Charles Thomas Rentowl (S. Sullivan)
Age: 26 years and 15 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: at 27 Marsh Lane Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Last Ship: Orotava
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch