Mr William Thomas Bott was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 6 February 1866 and he was baptised on 28 February 1869 in St Mary's Church.
He was the only son of William Bott (1837-1875), an engine fitter, and Elizabeth Morgan (1832-1921), natives of Nottinghamshire and Hampshire, respectively, who were married in Southampton on 23 February 1862.
Bott’s four siblings were: Margaret Elizabeth (1862-1931, later Mrs Herbert Ward), Mary Jane (1864-1933), Lucy (1868-1951, later Mrs David Matcham) and Emma Louisa (1871-1872). His sister Emma died aged one year in early 1872 whilst his sister Mary Jane never married and later worked as a schoolteacher.
On the 1871 census William and his family were shown living at 84 Melbourne Street, Southampton and his father was described as an engine fitter. His father died in London in 1875 and by the time of the 1881 census William, his mother and siblings were living at 23 Melbourne Street with his mother being described as a needlewoman (seamstress) and he as a tailor's errand boy. He later saw a spell in the Royal Marine Light Infantry's Plymouth Division but little else is known about that time of his life.
Bott was married in August 1890 in his native Southampton to Mary Ann Wheeler, known as Maud (b. 1861(1)), a native of Shirley and daughter of vintner John Robert Wheeler and the former Mary Miles.
The marriage between William and Maud seemed fraught from the outset and ultimately proved childless. When Maud appeared on the 1891 census she was working as a general domestic at a Southampton hotel but William was not listed, perhaps at sea at the time. Soon they began to live apart and, in September 1891, Bott was hauled before the courts on charges of desertion and failure of maintenance.
ADJOURNED—William Thomas Bott, a seaman on board the URMS Scot, was summoned by his wife, Maud Mary Bott, of the Hotel de la Providence, for neglecting to maintain her.—Mr Bell appeared for complainant, and Mr Aldridge (Messrs. Lamport and Aldridge) represented the defendant—On the application of the defendant’s solicitor, the case was adjourned for a week. - Hampshire Advertiser, 23 September 1891
WIFE MAINTENANCE—William Thomas Bott, a seafaring man, of 23, Melbourne-street, was summoned by his wife, Maud Bott, for whom Mr Bell appeared, for deserting her. In September last an order was made on the defendant for the maintenance of the wife, proceedings have been commenced in the July previous. The wife alleged that she had not seen her husband since November.—In defence, Bott denied that he had deserted his wife, and said he was willing to keep her.—The magistrates made an order for maintenance. - Southern Echo, 16 March 1892
On the 1901 census William was listed as a boarder at 52 Grosvenor Street and gives his age as 38 and his profession as blockmaker (?) and also declared that he was married. On the 1911 census he was living at 6 Nichols Road in Southampton and described himself as a widower and as a ship's fireman. Also living with him was a servant, the married housekeeper Julia Chamberlain and her adopted daughter May, including a lodger. What had become of his wife Maud remains unclear.
When Bott signed-on to the Titanic on 6 April 1912 he gave his address as 6 Nichols Road. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a greaser he could expect monthly wages of £6, 10s.
William Bott died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.