Mr Walter Harris

Mr Walter Harris was born in High Halden, Kent, England in 1867 1, later being baptised on 21 April that year.

He was the son of Thomas Harris (b. 1837), a domestic gardener, and Amelia Hukins (b. 1849), both natives of Kent who had married in Halden on 25 October 1866. He had two known siblings: Henry (b. 1869) and Ethel (b. 1876).

Walter and his family appear on the 1871 census living at Borstal Road, St Margaret, Kent, moving to Howberry Farm, Crayford, Kent by the time of the 1881 census when his father was described as a domestic servant. Another move took the family to Enfield, Middlesex where they appear on the 1891 census and his father was by now described as a market garden foreman. Walter was absent from the family home and listed elsewhere as a boarder at 133 West Street, Erith, Kent and he was described as a bricklayer.

Walter was married in St James' Church, Enfield on 11 July 1898 to Ada Harriett Smith (b. 1877 in Ponders End, Middlesex). The couple appeared on the 1901 census together living at 7 Harwood Villas, Enfield. They would have their only child, Walter Ernest, early the following year. The whole family appear together on the 1911 census living at 47 Granville Road, Walthamstow, Essex and Walter was still described as a bricklayer.

Walter boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912, travelling as a second class passenger (ticket number 14208 which cost £10, 10s). His destination is not known, possibly New Jersey. A contemporary newspaper reported that Walter, in the run-up to his departure, had visited acquaintances, one a palmist. After looking at his hand the lady refused to say what she had read, remarking only that she did not like what she had seen. Harris' son then asked "Is Daddy going to be drowned?"

Walter was acquainted whilst on board with Percy Oxenham and they shared adjacent cabins. Percy, who survived, later said that a steward alerted them to the danger and they dressed and headed up to the boat deck where they watched several boats depart. The two men later became separated and Percy never saw his friend again.

Walter died in the sinking  and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

What became of Walter's widow and son is not clear.


  1. Age frequently given as 30 or 31.

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Articles and Stories

Hudson Observer (1912) 
Hudson Observer (1912) 
Jersey Journal (1912) 
Belfast Newsletter (1912) 

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Gavin Bell, UK
Hermann Söldner, Germany

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(2019) Walter Harris Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #438, updated 21st October 2019 22:22:29 PM)