Here I am at Walton Cemetery in Liverpool by a memorial gravestone mentioning Ernest Freeman who died when the Titanic sank.
Few details are known about him. Though he was born in Hampstead, London he was living in Walton, Liverpool by the age of 34 with his wife and their daughter Gertrude (their other three children didn’t make it.) This move was probably due to him following his sea-faring dad into the same industry. However by aged 38 the family was living in Southampton, probably moving there when White Star (the company that owned Titanic) changed their main port away from Liverpool.
Ernest worked on Olympic but signed on to the Titanic on 4th April 1912 at Belfast as secretary to White Star chairman Bruce Ismay. He received monthly wages of £3 15 shillings.
Little is known of the nature of his death but his headstone (in Canada) reads, "He remained at his post of duty, seeking to save others, regardless of his own life and went down with the ship”
He probably dived into the water minutes before the line went down (than get sucked down a couple of miles) and died of hypothermia. His corpse was picked up by Mackay-Bennett, a cable repair ship which has become infamous for collecting lots of Titanic survivors and fatalities. Alfred was processed as number 239: “Male, estimated age 47, hair dark, moustache fair. Clothing: blue suit; light overcoat; pyjamas. Effects: Memo book; glasses; pipe; pouch; knife; gold watch; 6d. in pocketbook.”
Probably feeling guilty Bruce Ismay arranged for James’s family to receive a life-long pension (he also donated $50,000 to the pension fund for widows of seamen on the Titanic.)
Though his real grave is in Nova Scotia Canada I still wanted to have a look at the memorial stone in Walton Cemetery. Two donkeys were in a field and I wasn’t sure about letting myself in. Thankfully a woman arrived with water for them, said they would only nuzzle me if I had a food-yielding bag, and they stone was up there. “I can let you in for five minutes,” she said. I was hoping she’d disappear as taking photos of me pointing into the air and saluting while doing somersaults off headstones can be a little embarrassing. There was no erect stone to somersault off though, just one inlaid into the earth. The woman looked at me as though I was nuts as I did a couple of salutes but I’m used to it.
She must have sussed this was a geek on feet and told me one of the farm volunteers knew where a victim of the Lusitania ocean liner was buried in another part of the cemetery. I couldn’t find him round at the volunteer-run farm in the grounds of the cemetery. She said he had grey hair and it seemed every volunteer had grey hair. I thought I’d go home and research it and go back – I don’t need much an excuse to return to a cemetery. I love ‘em.
Looking for the memorial grave of Ernest killed when Titanic struck iceberg (thought to be over 100,000 years old.)
Ernest is buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada…
The bottom left photo show Titanic and Olympic. Ernest worked on both…
Was glad to get out of there…