William Simon Catcott Simmons

RMS Titanic Passage Cook

Mr William Simon Catcott Simmons was born in Litton, East Harptree, Somerset, England in mid-1875 1 and he was baptised on 27 June that year in Chewton Mendip parish church. 

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 siblings were: Rosa Amy (b. 1870), Edna Louisa (b. 1873), Mary Mabel Isabel (b. 1877), Charles Maurice Frank (b. 1880), Alice Agnes Cecilia (b. 1882) and Ethel Emily Sarah (b. 1887). He also had a half-sister, Bertha Jessie (b. 1864), who was born to his mother 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 a vocation in 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 whilst her husband was 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 Catcott (b. 18 November 1902) and Cecilia Edna Theresa (b. 19 April 1904).

When he signed-on to the Titanic on 4 April 1912 Simmons gave his age as 32 and indicated that he was still living at 2 Thackeray Road. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a passage cook, he received monthly wages of £7.

William Simmons died in the sinking and 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 Mary Gertrude who was welcomed on 7 October 1912. 

Laura Simmons never remarried and remained a widow for nearly sixty years. She continued to live in Southampton where she died on 28 August 1970 aged 90. 

Likewise, all of William and Laura's children remained in Southampton; his son Leslie later worked as a power station electrician and was married in 1930 to Violet Irene Pegrum (1907-1997), whose elder brother Herbert was married to the daughter of Titanic survivor Mabel Bennett. Leslie died in 1984.

Daughter Cecilia was married in 1930 to marine engineer and fitter Thomas King Surtees (1902-1986) and raised a family. She died in 1999 aged 95.
William's posthumously-born daughter Theresa married in 1937 to Geoffrey Vernon Lockyer (1912-1992), a master hairdresser, and they raised a family. She died in Bitterne, Southampton on 17 August 1992 aged 79; her widower passed away just months later in October that year.


  1. Birth registered in second quarter of that year in Clutton, Somerset.

Documents and Certificates

1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 Census (England)
Agreement and Account of Crew, National Archives, London; BT100/259
General Register Office: Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths
(1912) Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea, National Archives, London; BT334/52 & 334/53
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Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) William Simon Catcott Simmons (ref: #2114, last updated: 22nd October 2019, accessed 26th September 2021 20:13:03 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/w-simmons.html

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