Mr William John Turpin

Mr William John Turpin was born in Plymouth, Devon, England on 1 August 1882.

He was the son of Jacob John Striker Turpin (1855-1925), a police constable, and Mary Anne Halse "Annie" (1855-1942). His parents, both natives of Devonshire, were married in 1879 and William was one of their four children, his siblings being: Louisa Kate (1880-1948, later Mrs William Turpin), Leonard George Richard (1890-1948) and Rodney Ben (1892-1930).

William appears on the 1891 census living with his family at 19 Sussex Road in Stoke Damerel, Devon where he and his family had moved to from Plymouth a few years after his birth. The family later returned to Plymouth, appearing there on the 1901 census at 24 Beechwood Avenue and William was described as a carpenter and his father now a builder. Turpin was a freemason and, according to a newspaper report, a member of the Masonic brethren of the Lodge of St. George, No. 2025, Plymouth.

He was married to Dorothy Ann Wonnacott on 23 March 1908 at Eldad Presbyterian Church in Plymouth. The couple lived at 59 Chaddlewood Avenue, Lipson, Plymouth for a period when later that year William secured work in the USA. They later lived in Garfield in Salt Lake City, Utah and show up there on the 1910 census. They remained childless.

In August 1911 William and his wife returned to England to visit their respective families. His parents were by then living at 36 Beaumont Road, Plymouth.  Originally intending to return on the SS New York the coal strike meant that vessel was laid up and so they were transferred to the Titanic. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton and travelled in second class (ticket number 11668 which cost £21).

On the night of the sinking second officer Lightoller encountered a West-Country couple late on during the evacuation. Advising the lady that lifeboats were still being filled and that she should try and board one, she replied "Not on your life." It is possible that this couple were the Turpins.

The couple died in the sinking and their bodies were never recovered.

His father died in 1925 and his mother in 1942 aged 86. His last surviving sibling was his brother Leonard who died in London on 22 June 1948.  His sister Louisa died on 3 November 1948. His youngest sibling Rodney died aged 38 on 30 June 1930 in Plymouth.

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Articles and Stories

Western Morning News (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 
Illustrated Western Weekly News (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 
Western Morning News (1912) 

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Laura Barbetti, Australia
Gavin Bell, UK
Steve Coombes, UK
Chris Dohany, USA
Arthur Merchant, USA
Graham Naylor, Plymouth
John Perry
Brian J. Ticehurst, UK
Anita West, New Zealand

References and Sources

Exeter Flying Post, April 20, 1912 : William John Turpin
Marriage Certificate
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2019) William John Turpin Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #583, updated 21st August 2019 11:47:02 AM)