02 April 2012

Titanic Canadian connection

Ask who the captain of the Titanic was and you'll likely get the answer Smith. While that was true on the fateful voyage Edward Smith was not Titanic's first captain.

A century ago today, 2 April 1912, following six hours of sea trials the Titanic sailed from Belfast for Southampton. The captain on that voyage, Herbert James Haddock, had Canadian connections.

Born at Rugby, Warwickshire, England, 27 Jan 1861, the eldest of four sons of James Haddock and his wife Julia Isabella Wratislaw Haddock passed the exam to become a Mate (Steam) in September 1883, served in the Royal Naval Reserve and was  promoted to Lieutenant in 1890.

On 13 May 1893, by which time he was a master mariner, he married Mabel Eliza Bouchette, of a family with Quebec roots, at St. Peter's, Rock Ferry, Cheshire, England.

Their eldest son Geoffrey Haddock was born 10 January 1895 in Cheshire and christened on 14 March. He attended Birkenhed School and, like so many enterprising young men and women of the time, emigrated to Canada. That was in May 1912, just weeks after the Titanic disaster. According to the 1913-14 Montreal city directory he lived at 127 Drummond St. and was employed as a clerk. He served as private secretary to the president of the Grand Trunk Railway according to the memorial accessible here.

Shortly after the outbreak of war, on 24 October 1914, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Promoted to Sergeant, then commissioned in the field to Lieutenant, he died on 17 September 1916 at Courcelette. The body was not recovered; his name is engraved on the Vimy Memorial.

Herbert James Haddock, first captain of the Titanic, survived his son by more than 30 years, his wife by 11 years, dying on 5 October 1946.


Anonymous said...

We have bought the house at Bitterne way today and waiting to finalise contracts. The house still has original windows and some features dating back to the early 19th . It's incredible to know the captain and his family liked in our new family home. We shall be calling his name to see if his ghost is present ;)

Louis Francken said...

Author of a biography of HJ Haddock (published in 2011 in french)I am searching for information at places where he lived. Last month (september 2013) I saw his house in Bitterne and took some pictures frome the street and in the back garden. It seened un occupied at that time. Who is now the new owner?