Mr Sidney Frank Rutter (Fireman) was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 22 August 1885.1.
He was the son of Samuel Rutter (1843-1912), a furnace stoker, and Emma Sophia Fryer (1845-1903), both Hampshire natives who had married in Portsea on 6 July 1874. He had two siblings: Samuel Richard (b. 1880) and Albert Arthur (b. 1883).
Sidney appears on the 1891 census with his family living at 37 Priory Road, South Stoneham, Hampshire. The family would be listed on the 1901 census living at 2 Priory Court and Sidney was described as an unmarried marine engineer aged 16 (he was in fact only 15).
The following year, on 18 November 1902, Rutter joined the Royal Navy, his first ship being the Duke of Wellington. His five year service saw him also serving aboard Nelson, Mercury, Powerful, Europa, Edgar before his final duties aboard Victory II when he deserted on 31 December 1907. His conduct was ranged from very good to spending at least three occasions in the cells for misdemeanours. A small man, he stood at 5' 3¾" and had dark brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.
He was married in Southampton in the second half of 1910 to Alice Budd, née Medley, formerly Russell, a 48-year-old widow with four adult children.
Alice was born in Southampton in 1862, the daughter of Alfred and Matilda Medley, the latter née Southwell. She was married in 1882 to an Edward Russell (b. 1859) and she had four children: William Albert (b. 1881), Margaret Emily Matilda (b. 1884), Edith Annie (b. 1886) and William (b. 1889). Her husband Edward died in 1890 aged 31 and, left with four children, she was remarried in 1892 to Frederick William Budd (b. 1868) but is not thought to have had any further children. What became of Frederick Budd is not certain but Alice was described as a married laundress on the 1901 census, minus her husband, and living with her children at 18 Brooklyn Road, Portswood, Southampton.
Sidney and Alice would have no children of their own and they appeared together on the 1911 census living at 8 North Front, Kingsland, Southampton. Sidney described himself as a 29-year old seaman and, curiously, his he and his wife gave their surname as Graves.
When he signed on to the Titanic as a fireman Sidney signed on as "S. Graves" and gave his address as 8 North Front, Kingsland, Southampton and his previous ship as the Oceanic. As a fireman he could expect monthly wages of £6.
According to family sources Rutter, on returning from a period at sea had travelled from Southampton to Poole to see his new grandson [that is, a grandson belonging to his wife] who had been born in his absence. On returning to Southampton he found that in his absence he had not been allocated a berth. A friend who was scheduled for the Titanic, for some reason, did not wish to take up his station and the two men swapped places. The baby that Rutter visited recalled Alice Rutter drawing a pension from the White Star Line after Rutter's death.
Sidney Rutter died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His widowed father died within weeks of him.
Sidney's widow never remarried and resettled in Poole, Dorset where she died in 1925.
Keith Sutton, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA
- His naval register record gives the date as 22 August 1884. His birth was registered in the third quarter of 1885, confirming his age, but Rutter always seemed to up-scale his age by at least a year.
References and SourcesAgreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)
Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund Booklets and Minute Books