Walter Alexander Bishop was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in 1878 1. He was the son of James Bishop (1849-1908) and Maria Tuckett Parsons (1851-1933). His mother was originally from Ryde, Isle of Wight and his father from Southampton. They married in Southampton in mid-1872.
Walter had seven known siblings: Frederick (b. 1873), Frances (b. 1874), Harry (b. 1881), Alexander (b. 1883), Albert (b. 1885) Florence (b. 1890) and James (b. 1891).
Walter first appears on the 1881 census when he, his mother and two siblings were living at 33 Richmond Street, Southampton; his seafaring father, a ship's cook, was not present. On the 1891 census the family are located at 7 Waverly Road, Millbrook, Hampshire. Walter is absent from the 1901 census, perhaps already at sea, but his family were listed as living at their 1891 address.
Walter was married in early 1903 in Southampton to Mabel Mary Cox (b. 1881) and they had a son, Walter James, later that year on November 22. Mabel Bishop passed away in the first half of 1904 aged 23.
Walter was subsequently remarried in late 1907 to Martha Dabell, née Castelman, who had been born in 1880 in Littleton, Hampshire. Martha, a widow, had originally been married in 1898 to Percy George Dabell (1874-1905) and had two children: Winifred Elizabeth (b. 3 December 1900) and Percy Edward (b. 23 May 1905). Martha's brother Edward Castleman would later serve on Titanic as a greaser.
On the 1911 census Walter and his family are residing at 93 Paynes Road, Shirley, Southampton and he is described as a ship's steward.
Walter was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as 248 Romsey Road, Southampton. His last ship had been the St Louis. As a bedroom steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s. Also aboard the Titanic was his brother-in-law Edward Castleman.
Bishop encountered First Class Passenger Mrs Arthur Larned Ryerson after the accident and when questioned about why the engines had stopped he explained that there was talk of an iceberg, and they had stopped to avoid running over it.
Bishop died in the sinking, alongside his brother-in-law Edward Castleman . His body, if recovered, was never identified. His family (class b dependents) and widowed mother benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund 2. He is remembered on the St Augustine's Church Memorial in Southampton.
Walter's widow Martha never remarried. She remained in Hampshire for a time before settling in Chichester, Sussex to be close to her married daughter Winifred. She died on 20 November 1954.
Walter's son from his first marriage, Walter James, was married in Southampton in 1926 to Elsie Hardy and they had at least one son. Walter died in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1975.
His step-daughter Winifred was married in Southampton in 1927 to Roy Everingham Gatehouse (1897-1971) but appears to have had no children. She died in Chichester, Sussex in 1982.
His stepson Percy Edward was married in Surrey in 1934 to Nora Williams. He remained in Surrey and died in 1985.