Mr William Thomas Hughes was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England during the second quarter of 1878.
He was the son of a Welsh father, William Hughes (b. 1838 in Anglesey) and an English mother, Emma Fleetwood (b. 1850 in Aigburth, Lancashire), who had married in St David's Church, Liverpool on 3 March 1878. His father, a gardener, had had a previous marriage and had a daughter named Agnes Margaret (b. 1876) from that union. William also had three siblings: Richard Charles (b. 1880), Frederick Wynne (b. 1883) and Sarah Emma (b. 1886).
William and his family appear on the 1881 census living at Rice Cottage, New Hall Lane, West Derby, Lancashire and would move to Grange Lane, Little Woolton, Prescot by the time of the 1891 census. William perhaps went to sea at a young age and would be absent from the 1901 census; he first appears on crew records in 1899 when working as a steward aboard Dominion.
His father died sometime after this and his mother moved in with her married stepdaughter and her family at 131 Market Street, Hoylake, Cheshire and would be listed here on the 1911 census. William was listed elsewhere as a boarder at Ivy Bank, Dyer Road, Freemantle, Southampton and he was described as an unmarried ship's steward. Also boarding at this address was Titanic's barber August Weikman. He was engaged to be married to Elizabeth Louisa Aldred (b. 1876) of 22 Cable Road, Hoylake, Cheshire, daughter of Robert Alfred and Mary Roe.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912 William gave his address as the boarding house as Ivy bank, Dyer Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as an assistant second steward, he received monthly wages of £8.
William Hughes died in the sinking; his body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate, worth £203, 5s, 8d was administered to his brother Richard Charles Hughes, then a fruiterer.
William is commemorated on a family grave in Hoylake Parish Graveyard, Wirral.
His fiancée placed numerous memorials to him in local newspapers over the following years; on 15 April 1915 this memorial appeared in the Liverpool Echo:
HUGHES--In loving remembrance of W. T. (Willie) Hughes, who passed into rest April 15 1912, on the steamer Titanic. (Dearly Loved.) "Only a little while to the day of great reuniting and of the triumph in God in the land where there shall be no more sea." (Revelation xxi., 1)--E. L. Aldred, Hoylake
And another on 14 April 1917 in the same paper:
HUGHES--In loving remembrance of W. T. Hughes (Willie), who passed away whilst on board the steamer Titanic, on the night of the 14th April, 1912. (Dearly loved and never forgotten).
Only good-night, beloved; not farewell.
E. L. Aldred, Cable Road, Hoylake
Elizabeth Aldred eventually married in 1924, becoming Mrs Samuel R. Ellis and she died in the Wirral in 1962.