Mr Thomas James was born in Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales around 1885.1 Little else is known about his early life or family.
Thomas' wife was Esther Pearce (b. 27 October 1883); she was born in Crinkill near Parsonstown, King's County (modern-day Birr, Co Offaly), Ireland to English parents, soldier Robert Pearce and the former Annie Maria Payne.
Esther Pearce had previously been married in Alverstoke, Hampshire in 1902 to Walter Harry Richards and they had at least one child, Ivy Doreen, who was born on 18 December 1905. What became of Walter Richards is uncertain. Thomas and Esther, who may have been a common-law couple, would have one child of their own, Winifred Irene, who was welcomed on 2 November 1910.
On the 1911 census Thomas was absent and at sea but it is indicated that he was a stoker in the Royal Navy Reserve. His wife and daughters were then living at 33 College Street, Southampton.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Thomas gave his address as 27 College Street, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Danube and as a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.
Thomas James died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
JAMES--Died at duty's call, April 15th, at sea on board s.s. Titanic, the dearly loved husband of Esther James. A father dear, a husband true. From his sorrowing children and wife, of 27 John Street, Southampton. Nearer my God to Thee. Thy will be done. - Southern Daily Echo, 30 April 1912
Thomas' widow Esther was remarried the following year to stevedore James Albert Tapp (1876-1962), a native of Sussex and with whom she had several more children. She and her family remained in Southampton where she died in 1973 aged 89.
Thomas' stepdaughter Ivy Doreen was married in Southampton in 1924 to George Frederick John Manley and raised a family. She died in Southampton in 1973.
Thomas' daughter Winifred was married in Southampton in 1931 to Frederick Albert Hollick but had no children. She died in 1991 in New Forest, Hampshire.