Mr Thomas Frederick Cohen Pennal was born in Sennen, Cornwall, England on 24 January 1878 and was baptised on 19 February the following year.
He was the son of Thomas Augustus Pennal (1850-1921), a coastguard, and Mary Jane Cohen (1859-1932). His father was originally from Gosport, Hampshire and his mother from Chatham, Kent and they had married in Portsmouth in 1877.
Thomas was one of ten children born to his parents, two of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: Ernest Augustus (b. 1879), Beatrice Mary (b. 1880), Violet Lavinia (1882-1961), Albert Sidney (1884-1964) , Augusta Lilian (1886-1953, later Mrs Walter James Wilson), Herbert Douglas (1887-1985) and Arthur Claud (1896-1985).
He first appears on the 1881 census living at Bosorne Terrace, St Just, Penwith, Cornwall where his father was the local coastguard. The family are at 3 Roundham Terrace, Paignton, Devon by the time of the 1891 census and Frederick is still described as a schoolboy.
He joined the Royal Navy on 25 August 1896, first serving aboard Victory I before he was discharged after only three voyages on 2 January 1897, being described as unfit for service. His last Naval ship had been the St George. Described universally as having a very good character, physically he was diminutive, standing at only 5' 2". He had light brown hair with blue eyes and a fair complexion.
Frederick would be absent from the 1901 census when his family were living at 1 Cramner Road, Winton, Hampshire, perhaps indicative that he had already commenced his career in the merchant service.
Thomas was married in Southampton in late-1908 to Maude Rose Coe (b. 1884 in Southampton, daughter of Alfred Thomas and Annie Coe) and together they would have three sons: Archibald Frederick (1910-1995), Ronald Alfred (1911-1935) and Albert William (1912-1985).
The 1911 census records that Thomas is absent and perhaps at sea, with his wife and first two sons living at 62 Charlton Road, Shirley, Southampton.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4th April, 1912, Thomas gave his address as 77 Imperial Street, (Southampton). His previous ship had been the Philadelphia and as a first class bathroom steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
Thomas Pennal was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. He is remembered on the Millbrook Church memorial, Southampton, and the following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Independent (unknown date):
PINNAL--On the 15th of April, on s.s. Titanic, the dearly beloved husband of Maud Pinnal, of 77 Imperial avenue, Southampton. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and children. Rest in Peace.
His widow Maude was remarried in 1914 to Charlie Houghton and they had a daughter named Edna the following year. Maude died in Middlesex in 1945 and Thomas' last surviving son died in 1995.
In mid-2016 a studio portrait of Pennal was placed on auction by Henry Aldridge & Son.
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
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