Henry William "Harry" Sparkman

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Henry William "Harry" Sparkman

Birthplace: St Mary Extra, Southampton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Southampton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Southampton, Hampshire, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry William Sparkman and Jane Sparkman
Husband of Ida Lilian Sparkman and Olive Bessie Sparkman
Father of Edwin H J "Eddie" Sparkman; Lilian M Sparkman and <private> Sparkman
Brother of Charles Henry Sparkman; Isabella Ruth Browning; George Henry Sparkman; Alfred William Sparkman; Frank Sparkman and 4 others

Managed by: John Sparkman
Last Updated:

About Henry William "Harry" Sparkman

Survivor of sinking of SS Titanic

  • Name: Mr H. Sparkman
  • Age: 30 years
  • Last Residence: Sholing, Hampshire, England
  • Occupation: Fireman / Stoker - Engine crew
  • First Embarked: Southampton

Rescued Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912

Mr H. Sparkman, of Sprint Road, Sholing, Southampton, survived the sinking. It is unknown as to which lifeboat he was rescued in.


United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List


Bill Wormstedt, USA


Henry William " Harry "SPARKMAN ( born 1876 )

By Elaine Sparkman - 10 March 2001 from correspondence with Jack Sparkman, East London, South Africa

My grandfather was a merchant seaman. From my grandfather's Seaman's Discharge Book, at the time your father Percy Hubert Sparkman sailed on the KILDONAN CASTLE in Feb. 1902, Harry was sailing out of London. However, between April 1903 and May 1907 he was on successive voyages out of Southampton on the Cape Town Mails serving on R.M.S. DUNOTTAR CASTLE, KINFAUNS CASTLE, ARMADALE CASTLE and the NORMAN.

In 1907 he switched to the White Star Line on the Southampton to New York run sailing on TEUTONIC and OCEANIC before returning to the Cape Mails for 1908 with the ARMADALE CASTLE again. He was issued with a new Discharge Book in 1909.... and if we had it we would know if he continued on the Cape Town run, including your return trip to Southampton in 1911 on the GALEKA and GERMAN.

The fact is Harry Sparkman joined the TITANIC on her fatal maiden voyage out of Southampton 10th April 1912 but survived the sinking 5 days later. We know very little about his experience and so this has absorbed the majority of my research time in recent years. That is our only claim to fame - but exceedingly few people know of it and we like to keep it that way as we had enough of American researchers pestering us for any new information ...

Thus I am a bit of an expert on the TITANIC saga! I enclose a copy of the Crew List which records him as "saved" as published in the British Board of Trade Enquiry of 1912 (See Photo section under Sparkman).


Summary continuation papers suggest he served on the OCEANIC and OLYMPIC during 1911/1912.

Following all this he survived the 1914-1918 War. The Sparkman merchant navy tradition continued with both sons - Edwin went to sea as did my father William A.M. as an engineer for a short spell, before leaving to join the electricity generating industry.

Elaine Sparkman - 10 March 2001


Henry William Sparkman was born in St Mary, Southampton, Hampshire, England in the second quarter of 1876. He was the son of Henry William Sparkman (1851-1923), a mariner and shipyard labourer, and Jane Emily Cozens (1855-1937), Hampshire natives who had married in 1873.

Henry was one of ten children, two of whom died in infancy. His known siblings were: Charles Henry (1873-1939), Isabella Ruth (b. 1878), Alfred William (b. 1881), Frank (b. 1884), Walter (b. 1886), Charlotte Mary (b. 1888) and William (b. 1890).

Henry first appears on the 1881 census when he and his family were living at Church Road in Hound, Hampshire and they would be listed as living at 7 Church Park in Hound by the time of the 1891 census, Henry aged 15 and having already left school and working as a telegraph messenger. He apparently went to sea as soon as he came of age and by the time of the 1901 census he was listed as a ship's stoker and still living with his family, by now a Buttsash (?), Firgrove Road, Sholing, Southampton. Henry was not recorded on the 1911 census, apparently at sea, but his family were now living at Spring Road in Sholing.

Henry signed on to the Titanic in Southampton on 6 April 1912. He gave his address as Spring Road, Sholing and his previous ship as the Olympic. As a fireman he could expect to earn monthly wages of £6.

Two days later, on 8 April 1912, Henry was married in Christ Church, Norwood, Lambeth, London to Ida Lilian Chambers (b. 1884 in Lambeth, London). He set sail on Titanic two days later.

Henry survived the sinking of the Titanic, in which lifeboat is uncertain.

Henry returned to Southampton and continued to work at sea. He and his wife Ida would go on to have a son, Edwin Henry, in 1913. Ida died during childbirth with their second child Lilian in 1916; she was 31. Baby Lilian died in 1918. Henry was remarried in 1927 to Olive Bessie Ward (b. 1888 in New Forest) and they had a son named William Michael the following year. Olive Bessie passed away only a few months later aged 39.

Henry died on 15 October 1947 following a protracted illness; he was 71 and still living in Spring Road, Sholing. He was buried in Sholing Churchyard.

His son Edwin died in 1950 and his son William is believed to still be living.

Credits Gavin Bell, UK

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Henry William "Harry" Sparkman's Timeline

March 1876
Southampton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
April 1, 1876
South Stoneham, Hampshire, UK
Age 36
South Stoneham, Hampshire, UK
March 4, 1916
Age 40
October 15, 1947
Age 71
Southampton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
October 15, 1947
Age 71
Southampton, Hampshire, UK