Encyclopedia Titanica

William Victor Cherrett

William Victor Cherrett

William Victor Cherrett was born in Freemantle, Hampshire, England on 28 May 1887.

He was the son of William Cherrett (1851-1934) and Rose Goodey (1851-1933) who had been married on 24 August 1872. His father was from Southampton and his mother originally from Sheerness, Kent.

Cherrett was one of nine children, with seven living past infancy. His known siblings were: Henry William (1876-1886), Rose Elizabeth (1880-1957, later Mrs James Orr), Alice Maud (1883-1967, later Mrs Herbert Akhurst), George Frederick (1885-1962), Harry (1890-1957), Arthur (1892-1979) and Eva (1894-1982, later Mrs Stanley Dunning).

William's father is believed to have been a merchant marine fireman and does not appear on any census reports with his family. William first appears on the 1891 census when he, his mother and siblings are living at 9 Nelson Road, Millbrook, Hampshire. They have moved a few doors up to number 13 Nelson Road by the time of the 1901 census. By this time William, aged 13, has already left school and is working as an errand boy; he was also a keen footballer.

His family are still at this address in the 1911 census but William is absent, perhaps at sea at the time. Although it is uncertain if he ever saw any naval service, he joined the Royal Navy Reserves around 1908. Current-day family suggest that he had aspirations to become a wireless operator and he was reportedly training to do so at the time.

When William signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 13 Nelson Road, Freemantle, Southampton. His last ship had been the Orotava and as a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.

William Cherrett, who was unmarried, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

William's parents both continued to live in Southampton; his mother died in 1933 and his father the following year. His last surviving sibling Eva Dunning died in Southampton in 1982.

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Comment and discuss

  1. James Orr

    James Orr

    Hi, My great grand uncle William Victor Cherrett is listed as a fireman on the Titanic. Now, my grand uncle, his nephew, who is still living has said that he was a radio operator. Obviously there has been some confusion here as from what i've read on this site, the radio operators were not even a part of the crew. Can anybody shed some light on where the confusion may have arose? - James

  2. Michael H. Standart

    I don't see how it could be done. The Titanic only had Bride and Phillips as the Marconi operators. There was no one else, much as they might have wished it. (Shorter shifts that way.) Family legend perhaps? It happens. Cordially, Michael H. Standart

  3. James Orr

    James Orr

    Well, he IS listed as a fireman. What exactly would the duties of a fireman have been? Apart from puting out fires ;) . I'm still looking for other documentation to prove the relationship, i've only been doing this family tree stuff for a bit over a month now .

  4. Mike Herbold

    James: I'd be interested to see what you find, because I'm also checking out a similar crew member on Carpathia, in this case a steward, who also reportedly was using his spare time to learn the Marconi. There are no substantiations in any public records that I can find, but his son, who is still alive, swears this to be the case. My thought was that since Marconi employees were not ship's employees, there might have been a legal or liability problem admitting that anyone else played with the equipment. Or, the non-Marconi employees could have exaggerated their role over the years. ... Read full post

  5. James Orr

    James Orr

    Another interesting point i've just found out. Another relative of mine (1st cousin 3 times removed) is in the 1891 census as a Telegraph Messenger. He was only 16 in 1891, but it could have led to a carrer with the telegraph. This guy would have been a cousin of William's sisters husband, so the relationship isn't close but they could have known each other. It might be nothing, but I shall try to find out anyway .

  6. Michael H. Standart

    Hi James, a fireman is not a firefighter on a coal fired ship, but one of the engineers responsible for the operation of the propulsion plant. White Star did everything they could to keep them out of sight. Even to the point of including a special fireman's tunnel/access into the design of the Olympic class liners which gave them direct access to the boiler rooms from their quarters. It is extremely unlikely that men restricted to the bowels of the ship would be allowed anywhere near the wireless which was located in the deckhouse on the Boatdeck. Cordially, Michael H. Standart

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Crew Summary

Name: Mr William Victor Cherrett
Age: 24 years 10 months and 18 days (Male)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: at 13 Nelson Road Southampton, Hampshire, England
Occupation: Fireman
Last Ship: Orotava
Embarked: Southampton on Saturday 6th April 1912
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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