Mr John Douglas Stanley George Blake (mess steward),1 better known as Stanley, was born in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, England on 2 March 1886.
He was the son of William George Blake (1855-1923), a general labourer, and Elizabeth Jane Millmore (b. 1855), Isle of Wight natives who had married in 1879.
He had six known siblings: Ada (1880-1956, later Mrs Thomas Tripp), Mabel Beatrice (b. 1882, later Mrs Augustus Grainger), Lillian May (b. 1884), Hilda Edith Jane (b. 1889), Violet Irene (1892-1974, died as Mrs Robert Slaughter) and George (b. 1894).
He first appears on the 1891 census, then a resident of 1 Falcon Terrace, East Cowes and the family would still be listed at that address by the time of the 1901 census. His mother apparently died sometime around 1902 but this is not clear.
Stanley initially pursued a career as a barber but that was short-lived and on 19 October 1903 he joined the Royal Navy as a steward. His first two voyages were aboard the Firequeen and he also went on to serve aboard Victory and Glory with his last ship being the Fisgard, his naval service coming to an end on 1 July 1907 after he was discharged for being unfit for service. Whilst his character conduct was excellent, physically he was diminutive and stood just a fraction short of 5' 3" and had dark brown hair and eyes and a fresh complexion.
It is possible that Blake went straight into the merchant service following his naval discharge; he appeared on the 1911 census boarding at Holy Rood House on Winkle Street, Southampton, the home of a Mrs Christine Johnson. He was then described as an unmarried ship's steward.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Blake gave his address as Holy Rood House and his previous ship as the Olympic. Working as an engineering mess steward he could expect monthly wages of £5. One of four engineering mess stewards, Blake was apparently second in seniority judging by his wage. John Coleman was apparently senior and earned £6 whilst two other mess stewards, George Gumery and Cecil Fitzpatrick earned just £3, 15s. Only Fitzpatrick would survive the disaster.
Stanley Blake died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.