William James Pitfield was born on 1 December 1886 in Woolston, Southampton, Hampshire, England.
He was the son of William Henry Pitfield (1855-1910), a shipyard labourer, and Louisa Gorey (1856-1911), both Hampshire-natives who had married in 1876. William had five known siblings: Sidney William (b. 1878), Arthur Henry (b. 1880), George (b. 1883), Albert (b. 1885) and Daisy (b. 1895).
William first appears on the 1891 census and at the time he and his family were residing at 3 Cliff Terrace, Portsmouth Road, Woolston. When the 1901 census was taken the family were residing at 11 St Johns Road, St Mary Extra, Southampton and William, aged 14, had already left school and was working as an errand boy. His father died in 1910 and his mother just over a year later.
William was married in 1908 to Haidee Ethel Diaper (b. 1888 in Itchen, Southampton). The couple later had a son, William Frederick (b. 1910) and show up on the 1911 census living at 13 Johns Road, Woolston, Southampton , with William described as a ship's greaser in the merchant marine.
When he signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, William gave his address as 13 Albert Road, (Southampton) and his previous ship as the Oceanic. As a greaser William could expect to earn monthly wages of £6, 10s.
William Pitfield died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His wife Haidee had been pregnant at the time of the sinking and gave birth later in the year to a daughter named Haidee Doris who, unfortunately, died before her first birthday the following year.
William's widow Haidee was remarried in 1919 to Edward Wells (1894-1946) and the couple had two children, Nellie (b. 1919) and Albert Ernest (1922-1943). Haidee died in Southampton on 6 March 1950.
His son, William, was married in Southampton to Dorothy Victoria Thorp (1911-1988) and they raised a family. He died in Southampton in 1973.