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Titanic Tales 


Titanic Tales 

Nutbean, Mr. William

Crew: Engineering - Fireman/Stoker


15 Sept 1881

Sherborne, Dorset, England


6 May 1947

Southampton, Hampshire, England




Son of William Lionel Nutbean and Georgina James, natives of Southampton, at the time of his birth, they were unmarried. A further four siblings were to follow.  William was to lead a life of escalating petty crime,  serving time in prison.

William married Emily Heard in 1908 but the couple were to remain childless. It seems that William was living closer to the straight and narrow after getting married, but even the story of his job on the Titanic was just as colourful as his previous exploits.

On the morning of the Titanic departure William was drinking with his friend and fellow crew member John Podesta. Years later in 1968 Podesta said the pair went to the Newcastle Hotel on East Street and then stopped in The Grapes on Oxford Street, where they met up with three other crewmates, the Slade brothers; Bertram, Thomas and Alfred and their lodger Alfred Penney. 

They left the pub with a few minutes to make the short walk to the ship gangway before departure but as they crossed the docks a train approached. The Slade brothers and their lodger opted to let the train pass while Nutbean and Podesta jumped in front of it.  That delay possibly saved their lives. A passenger, Lawrence Beesley, recalled seeing a gang of stokers approaching the gangway with their kit bags over their shoulders. The officer on the gangway refused to let them board and despite their protests the ship sailed without them onboard.

Nutbean and Podesta came off shift as fireman in the bowels of the ship on the evening of 14th April 1912 and made their way to the galley to eat. After leaving Podesta heard the crow's nest inform the bridge of ice ahead. The pair went foreward to look but saw nothing and the returned to their bunkroom and talked for a while before turning in.  After the collision the pair attempted to wake other crewmen before Botswain Nicholls arrived to order men to their boat stations.  

After assisting in lowering lifeboat 7 the men were ordered into a lifeboat by Officer Murdoch, most likely Collapsible D.  The pair returned to England on the SS Lapland and Nutbean continued to work at sea and he would also be honoured for his service in the Merchant Navy during the Great War. He was a seafarer until at least 1931.

In 1939 he was living as a lodger in College Street, Southampton and described as a single general labourer. What happened to his relationship with his wife is unknown. William passed away in May 1947. He was 65 years old. 









Primary source : Encyclopaedia Titanica 

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