Encyclopedia Titanica

William Dickson Mackie

Titanic Junior Fifth Engineer

William Dickson Mackie
William Dickson Mackie

William "Bill" Dickson Mackie was born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 31 July 1879.

He was the son of Robert Smith Mackie (b. 1850), also a marine engineer, and his wife Agnes née Dickson (b. 1851). His father was originally of Largs, Ayrshire and his mother was a native of Glasgow.

William and his family seemingly moved to England when he was still a baby and his sister Sarah Ferguson was born in Poplar, Middlesex in late 1881. He had another sibling, James (b. 1877) who died in infancy.

When the 1891 census was conducted William and his family were listed as visitors in his father's hometown of Largs, address 14 Gallowgate Square. William would be absent from the 1901 census but his family were listed as living at 2B Margery Park Road, West Ham, Essex.

He was married in West Ham, Essex in late 1903 to Annie Thompson Anderson (b. 1880), a native of South Shields, Durham, but the couple would have no children. Annie was listed alone on the 1911 census living at 71 Morris Road, The Polygon, Southampton, William most likely being at sea. William had lost his mother in mid-1910 followed, sadly, by the death of his wife Annie on 2 November 1911 aged 31.

He served his apprenticeship at the Glengall Ironworks, Millwall, and since the end of his apprenticeship days had been mostly away at sea. He was for a few years in the P&O service, leaving that company to join the White Star Line. Under this company he served on the Majestic and the Olympic, and was on board the latter vessel at the time of her collision with the cruiser Hawke in the Solent.

William sent her a letter one month before the Titanic sailed telling his 'sister' (actually his sister-in-law) about his promotion to the ship. He also makes mention of "a bit of trouble" on his last trip on the Olympic

Mackie Letter
Mackie Letter
Letter from William Dickson Mackie

Margery Park Rd
Forest Gate


My Dear Sister
Just a line to let you know that I am still in the land of the living. You will see by the above address that I am at home. I left the “Olympic” last Thursday and am going to the new ship “Titanic” on the 25th as 4th Assistant Engineer £11-10sc a month so
that is not so bad and after I have done a trip or two in her I will see if I can get transferred to an Australian Ship. You will be pleased to here [sic] that Gran sailes for Australia on the 11th of April and is due in Sydney on the 30th of May. She is coming out on the S.S. Ballarat P&O company and has got a very good cabin.

I am pleased to say that I am in the best of health but been laid up at sea for ten day on our last trip. How are you keeping in the best of health I hope as Peg how is she give her a few kisses from uncle Bin. I was up at Fulham on Wednesday and they are all quite well and Gran is longing for the time to come for her to get away. They were telling me that Jim had started for Lot’s uncle in Melbourne and I wish him every success. How is Robert all right I hope. I suppose he hasn’t got a shore job yet. We met with an accident on our last passage home and had to go to Belfast for repairs and had a good time there. It is a very nice place. Well Edie I have very little news to give you. You might ask Willie if he got my letter from New York. Also Lizzie said she did not want the house as she is out of pocket over it which I explained in the letter.

Sallie Charlie Dad & Mick send there best love to you and Sallie says she will write next week. So with best love to Robert & my Peg.
and accept my very best to yourself

From your loving brother

P.S. we leave Southampton on the 10th of April
in the “Titanic”
From Bill

When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Mackie gave his address as 2B Margery Park Road, Forest Gate, (Essex), the home of his father. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as Junior 5th engineer he could expect monthly wages of £9, 10s.

William Mackie died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. He is mentioned on his wife's grave in the Old Common Cemetery, Southampton:

William Dickson Mackie

Husband Of Annie T. Mackie

Who Was Drowned In The Titanic Disaster

April 15th 1912

His father Robert, who died in 1917, later benefitted from the Titanic Relief Fund as a Class C dependent.

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr William Dickson Mackie
Age: 32 years 8 months and 15 days (Male)
Nationality: Scottish
Marital Status: Widowed
Occupation: Junior 5th. Engineer
Last Ship: Olympic
Embarked: Belfast
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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Stratford Express (20 April 1912) The Titanic Disaster

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  1. Robert Thompson

    Robert Thompson said:

    William (Bill) Mackie Was The Brother-in-law of my great grandmother. They Lived in the same house in London until my great grand parents emigrated to Australia. I have a letter from him written to my grandmother just before he sailed on the Titanic. My great auntie Peg gave me the letter because of my interest in the Titanic. She was 5 when they emigrated but still remembers Bill. We only have a limited knowledge of him from her and was wondering if anyone can give me any more information on him. I would especially like to know of any relatives in England

  2. Cal Haines

    Cal Haines said:

    Robert wrote: > William (Bill) Mackie Was The Brother-in-law of my great grandmother. ... > I have a letter from him written to my grandmother just before he sailed on the Titanic. My great auntie Peg gave me the letter because of my interest in the Titanic. ... We only have a limited knowledge of him from her and was wondering if anyone can give me any more information on him Hi Robert, I assume that you have seen the brief bio here at ET: ... Read full post

  3. Robert Thompson

    Robert Thompson said:

    I am currently trying to set up a web page in memoriam, with a copy of the letter and a bit more of a bio from the information I have. Will keep you posted and hope to have the page linked to ET if it's good enough. Will keep you informed

  4. Christine Szabo

    Christine Szabo said:

    Robert & Cal You may be interested to know that in 1992, The Institute of Marine Engineers produced a commemorative booklet as a tribute to the engineering staff of Titanic on the 80th Anniversary of the sinking. It contains biographies for all of the engineers, electricians and boilermakers, letters of tribute and construction details of the ship. Within the U.K. this booklet costs £5.00 inc. postage, and is available from : The Publications Administrator The Instituate of Marine Engineers 80 Coleman Street London EC2R 5BJ Email :... Read full post

  5. Robert Thompson

    Robert Thompson said:

    Thanks for the additional info Chris. I Have seen the booklet you mentioned and have a copy of the page about Bill. I'm very pleased to learn that it is still available to buy and have Emailed the Institute to see if I can get a copy in Australia. If not I'll have to impose on a friend currently working over in the UK. This is the most information I have been able to find on Bill and even this is not entirely accurate, as he lived with my great grandmother long before his wife died. His Wife's name was anne and was my great grand mothers sister. Both sisters were married to marine... Read full post

  6. Christine Szabo

    Christine Szabo said:

    Robert I've replied to you in full via e-mail but since then have found that your Mackie family may have a connection with Hotham Street, West Ham. I'll send that information through to you. Chris

  7. N Wilde

    N Wilde said:

    He was my great great grandad !!

  8. Sue Brunton Stratford

    Sue Brunton Stratford said:

    Me too :) And many more of us!

  9. Irene Burke

    Irene Burke said:

    I believe that Robert Mackie was. my father,George Daniel Mackie 's uncle.His father died in WW1 and was also named George Daniel Mackie. Born Edinburgh.

  10. Sue Brunton Stratford

    Sue Brunton Stratford said:

    So we could be related, Irene! :)

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Gavin Bell, UK
Dave Fredericks, UK
Robert Thompson
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK