Seward, Mr. Wilfred Deable
Crew: Victualling - Chief Second Class Pantry Steward
4 Mar 1887
Shoreditch, London, England
11 Dec 1963
Ballymoney, County Antrim, Ireland
Wilfred was born in 1887, in Shoreditch, London. His father was from Southampton and his mother from Cork in Ireland. Wilfred was the eldest of ten children and the family move to various locations over the years from Borkenhead, Liverpool, Essex and Tottenham. In the 1911 census, aged just 14, Wilfred is listed as a ship steward.
Seward transferred to Titanic from Olympic and was on board from Belfast, although he did not sign on for the trip. He formally signed on in Southampton as Chief Pantry Steward.
He was called to give evidence at the Brtish Inquiry. His account does not reveal anything of note. At the time of the collision he was in his bunk. He got up but returned to his bunk to sleep. He was awoken when a steward ordered all men on deck. Seward checked the lifeboat list in the pantry and assisted passengers with their life preservers.
He first went to boat 5 and then to his assigned boat 3. When he boarded he estimate there to be 50 to 60 people o n board.
He returned to sea but in 1914 enlisted to the 10th (Scottish) Battalion, The King's Liverpool Regiment. He arrived in France on November 1st but was discharged four weeks later suffering from rheumatism. Curiously grounds for hisdischarge was cited as follows:
This man was on board the Titanic when she went down. He was in the water 2½ hours….Causation of the disability - immersion at sinking of the Titanic.
While The Liverpool Daily Post reported he contracted frostbite in the trenches over the Christmas period.
He served in the Merchant Navy during the War and married Lylla Marion Box in 1917. They had two children Doris (b. 1920) and Peter James (b. 1926). His daughter recounted an amusing anecdote regarding his long periods away from home at sea. She and her fiancé wrote to him for permission to marry and his reply arrived 18 months after their ceremony.
He worked aboard Majestic and the Olympic before a long association with the Queen Mary. He served in the Merchant Navy once again during the second World War and then retired from sea bound work in 1953 . It didn't mean he could be tempted away from his "beloved ships" as he still worked as a patrol officer on the Southampton docks for the Queen Mary.
In 1956 Wilfred and his wife moved to Northern Ireland to be close to their daughter. He provided his account to William McQuitty as part of the preparation for the film A Night to Remember and it was reported in the Ballymena Weekly Telegraph that he still had his Titanic pantry keys.
Wilfred passed awy in December 1963 and his wife in December 1967. They are at eternal rest together in the Ballymoney Borough Council Cemetery.
Primary source : Encyclopaedia Titanica