Mr William Simon C. Simmons was born in Litton, East Harptree, Somerset, England in mid-1875.1
He was the son of Matthew Simmons (1846-1910), a blacksmith and innkeeper, and Martha Durbin (1844-1922), Somerset natives who had married in 1869. His known siblings were: Rosa Amy (b. 1870), Edna Louisa (b. 1873), Mabel (b. 1878), Frank (b. 1880) and Ethel Emily (b. 1887) and his mother had another daughter, Bertha Jessie (b. 1864), from a previous relationship.
William and his family appear on the 1881 census living at his father's inn, the White Lion on High Street in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The family later spent time living in Odstock, Wiltshire during the late 1880s and were settled in Colgate, Sussex by the time of the 1901 census.
William initially pursued a career as an upholsterer and appeared on the 1891 census in that capacity as a lodger, aged just 15, at an address (Oakfield Street?) in Blandford, Dorset.
It is clear that William never continued with upholstering and by 1900 was living in Southampton where, in the Autumn of that year, he was married to Laura Theresa Augusta Ereaut (b. 11 February 1880), a native of St Hellier, Jersey and the daughter of a French-born grocer, Alfred Ereaut. Laura appears on the 1901 census living with her widowed father at 6 Albert Street, St Mary, Southampton. Her husband is absent and likely already at sea.
According to the 1911 Census William and his wife were living at 2 Thackery Road, Portswood, Southampton and he William was described as a ship’s cook. They had two children: Leslie Matthew (b. 1902) and Cecilia Edna (b. 1904).
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, William gave his age as 32 and was still living at 2 Thackeray Road. His last ship had been the Olympic and as a 'passage cook' he received monthly wages of £7.
Simmons died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
His widow Laura was pregnant at the time of the sinking and she later gave birth to a daughter named Theresa 2 before the end of the year. What became of this child is not clear.
Laura Simmons was never remarried and remained a widow for nearly sixty years. She died in Southampton on 28 August 1970 aged 90. Both their children, Leslie and Cecilia, remained in Southampton: Leslie was married in 1930 to Violet Irene Pegrum (b. 1908) but is not known to have had any before his death in 1984. William's daughter Cecilia was married in 1930 to Thomas King Surtees (1902-1986) and raised a family. She died in 1999 aged 95.
Andrew J. Davidson, UK
- Birth registered in second quarter of that year in Clutton, Somerset.
- Born Theresa M. G. Simmons and birth registered in last quarter of 1912 in Southampton
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Casualty List, Public Record Office (BT100/259)