Mr Thomas Ford

Thomas Ford

Mr Thomas Ford was born in Bootle, Lancashire, England in 1879.

He was the son of an English father, Matthew Ford (b. 1832 in Lincolnshire), an ironworks labourer, and an Irish mother, Delia Mary, née Parsons (b. 1841) who had married in late 1867.

Thomas had five known siblings: George William (b. 1869), Matthew (b. 1870), John Henry (b. 1871), Mary Ann (b. 1873) and David (b. 1875).
Thomas first appears on the 1881 census living with his family at 3 First Street, Bootle, Lancashire and his father was now working as a dock labourer. His mother died in 1886 and when the remaining family appeared on the 1891 census they were living at 26 Stafford Street, Bootle and Thomas was still a schoolboy. His father later died in 1898 and Thomas most likely went to sea as a young man and it appears he was not present for the 1901 census.

Thomas was married in Southampton in 1907 to fellow Liverpudlian Sarah Murray, née Blake (b. 9 April 1868).  Sarah was previously married in 1895 to John Patrick Murray (b. 1872 in Liverpool), a ship's stoker, and they are known to have had at least four children: Catherine (b. 1895), John Patrick (b. 1897), Anne (b. 1900) and Mary Jane  (b. 1904). The fate of John Patrick Murray is not clear but he seems to have died around 1904.

Thomas and Sarah would have one child of their own, Thomas George (b. 18 May 1908) and the large family would appear on the 1911 census living at 36 Russell Street, St Mary, Southampton and Thomas was described as a ship's stoker.

When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Ford gave his address as 36 Russell Street, Southampton. His previous ship was the Olympic and his wages were £6, 10s per month.

At the time of the collision, Thomas was off-watch and was in his bunk sleeping. He woke his mate Charles Hendrickson and the pair went to the forward well deck where they saw chunks of ice and they also noticed that the ship had stopped. Hendrickson returned to his quarters and was later joined by Ford who reported that the ship was taking on water in the forward stokeholds. Hendrickson went to investigate for himself before heading to the upper decks and the pair did not see each other again.

Thomas Ford died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. 

His widow and children were later assisted by the Titanic Relief Fund. Sarah never remarried and remained in Southampton, later living at 30 King Street by the time of the 1939 register. Her address was listed as 5 Queens Walk when she died on 8 January 1944.

His son Thomas later worked as a cellarman and jobbed as a bandsman, later joining the merchant navy and serving aboard a number of renowned vessels. He remained in Southampton the rest of his life, married in 1943 to Florence E. E. Murrey (b. 1924) and had a son Melvyn the same year. He died in 1983.

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Gavin Bell, UK
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Link and cite this biography

(2019) Thomas Ford Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1485, updated 17th September 2019 04:17:50 AM)