Mr Thomas Kelland

Titanic 2nd class library steward

Mr Thomas Kelland was born in Chalton, Wiltshire, England on 20 September 1892.1

He was the son of William Kelland (b. 1848), a blacksmith, and Isolt2 Berryman, née Spiller (b. 1850). His parents, both natives of Somerset, were from Wiveliscombe and Taunton respectively.

His mother Isolt was first married in Wellington, Somerset in 1876 to Robert Berryman (b. 1851 in Milverton, Somerset and a painter by trade) and had at least three children from that marriage as per the 1881 census: Agnes (b. 1876), Elizabeth (b. 1879) and Edwin (b. 1881). Another child, Fanny, would be born in 1883 and it is possible there were further children. She was widowed in 1885.

His father was first married in 1874 in Bridgwater, Somerset to Sarah Dibble (b. 1852 in Cannington, Somerset) and they had seven children: Henry (b. 1876), John (b. 1878), Albert Thomas (b. 1879), Eliza (b. 1881), Ernest (b. 1887), Sarah Ann (b. 1888) and William George (b. 1890). He was widowed in 1891.

William Kelland and Isolt Spiller Berryman were married in St Mary, Donhead, Wiltshire on 27 June 1892 and would go on to have two sons: Thomas (b. 20 September 1892) and Edgar (b. 14 October 1895), the latter being born in Southampton.

Thomas, for reasons unknown, does not appear on the 1901 census with his family who are listed as living at Commercial Street, Commerical Road, Bitterne, Southampton. 

On the 1911 census Thomas's mother is listed as a widow but what became of Thomas' father remains uncertain. Thomas, his mother and brother Edgar are listed at the same Commercial Street address and he was described as a "steward on board Adriatic". His younger brother Edgar was listed as a blacksmith's apprentice in the shipbuilding trade.

When he signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 Kelland gave his address as Commercial Street, Bitterne, Hampshire. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a library steward, he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.

Second class passenger Lawrence Beesley later recalled the events of Sunday 14 April and the activities of the second class library steward:

"Looking over this room, with his back to the library shelves, is the library steward, thin, stooping, sad-faced, and generally with nothing to do but serve out books; but this afternoon he was busier than I have ever seen him, serving out baggage declaration-forms for passengers to fill in."

Following the collision and in the lead-up to the evacuation order being given, Lawrence Beesley again observed the library steward:

".... and on the way back to my cabin passed some stewards standing unconcernedly against the walls of the saloon: one of them, the library steward again, was leaning over a table, writing. It is no exaggeration to say that they had neither any knowledge of the accident nor any feeling of alarm that we had stopped and had not yet gone on again full speed: their whole attitude expressed perfect confidence in the ship and officers."

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

His mother Isolt and brother Edgar would benefit from the Titanic Relief Fund as Class C dependents. They later relocated to Paddington, London where his mother died in 1939 aged 88. His brother Edgar was married in 1920 to Rosina Sellick, née Maskell and they had two children, a daughter named Coralina (b. 1922) and a son named after his lost uncle, Thomas (1923-1972). Edgar Kelland died Horsham, Sussex in 1969.

 

Credits

Gavin Bell, UK

Notes

  1. Birthdate as per birth record; he gave his age as 21 when signing on to Titanic.
  2. Name spelled differently on various records: Isat, Isett, Isolt, etc

References and Sources

Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2018) Thomas Kelland Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1947, updated 21st September 2018 05:42:26 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/thomas-kelland.html

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