Mr Thomas Charles Alfred Preston was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 1 June 1891.
He was the son of Thomas Charles Preston (b. 1853) and Annie Mathilda Ridout (b. 1865). His father, a sawyer and later a shipyard labourer, was native to Plymouth, Devon, and his mother was from Southampton. They were married in Southampton in 1888 and would have seven children, five of whom survived infancy.
Thomas' known siblings were: Annie Mathilda (1889-1894), Edith Florence (1892-1924, later Mrs Walter Henry Wilkins), William Frederick (1895-1964), Alice Maud (1896-1984, later Mrs George Frederick Ross) and Frances Elizabeth (1898-1965, later Mrs Alfred George Garner).
In the months prior to Thomas' birth, his family were listed on the 1891 census as living at 12 Princes Street, St Mary, Southampton. When he appeared on the 1901 census, the family were living at 6 Lower York Street, Southampton. His father died in 1902, and his mother became a charwoman. The family are shown on the 1911 census living at 24 Bond Street, Northam, Southampton, and Thomas was described as a dock labourer. They later moved to 42 Millbank Street, Southampton.
Thomas signed on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912; he gave his address as 42 Millbank Street and his previous ship as the Atrato, and as a trimmer, he could expect to earn monthly wages of £5 10s.
Thomas Preston died in the sinking, and his body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in the Southern Daily Echo on 26 April 1912:
PRESTON--April 15th, at sea, on S.S. Titanic, Thomas Charles Alfred, eldest son of Annie and the late Thomas Charles Preston, of 42, Millbank Street, Southampton, age 20.
He is remembered on the St Augustine's Church Memorial in Northam and on his father's grave in the Old Common Cemetery. His mother, Annie died on 21 September 1912, aged 47. Her death resulted in her remaining children becoming orphans, and the responsibility for their welfare was under the care of the Titanic Relief Fund. Thomas' last surviving sibling, Alice, died in Southampton in 1984.