Titanic Memorial for ‘Captain’ Henry Tingle Wilde

Henry Tingle Wilde

Henry Tingle Wilde

Henry was born and brought up in Walton, Liverpool. After apprenticing at sea with Messrs James Chambers & Co, Henry learned quickly and rose through the ranks to become a junior officer with the White Star Line in July 1897.

After time served as Chief Officer on RMS Olympic under Captain Edward John Smith, future captain of the Titanic, it appeared he was due to take up command of a ship of his own. Instead, he received orders at the last minute to join Smith on the Titanic on her maiden voyage.

Though the Titanic was virtually identical to her sister ship, the Olympic, Wilde wrote while on board to his sister: “I still don’t like this ship – I have a queer feeling about it…”

He was off duty when the ship struck the fateful iceberg at 11:40pm on 14 April 1912, so his recorded movements in the early stages of the disaster are not entirely clear. What is certain is that he was instructed to oversee the loading and lowering of the even-numbered lifeboats in the port-side of the ship. Amid the panic and confusion, an eyewitness and fellow officer stated, Wilde had been first to suggest they should arm themselves with standard-issue revolvers to act as a deterrent against those who sought to save themselves at the expense of others. These were needed later when he had completed his work on the port-side and then turned his attention to loading collapsible D on the starboard-side. Crowds of distressed passengers threatened to interfere with the rescue attempts and Wilde ordered a ring of men to surround the boat so that it could be loaded safely.

Some reports say that the final sighting of him was of him smoking a cigarette, waving farewell to a fellow officer while making no attempt to save himself. The reasoning behind this was said to be that, in late 1910, he had lost his wife and twin sons, possibly to scarlet fever; and had been heard to state that since his wife had died, he no longer cared ‘how he went or how soon he joined her’. However, many have since discounted this theory as unlikely.

Henry Tingle Wilde Gravestone

Henry Tingle Wilde Gravestone

It’s believed instead that he was last seen trying to free collapsibles A and B from the roof of the officers’ quarters and later died of hypothermia in the icy waters.

His body, if recovered, was never identified. However, he is remembered on the family grave in Kirkdale Cemetery, marked by an obelisk and gravestone. The inscription simply reads “Also Captain [sic] Henry T. Wilde, RNR Acting Chief Officer Who Met His Death in the SS Titanic Disaster 15th April 1912 aged 38 years. ‘One of Britain’s Heroes’”.


Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.



Liverpool shipowner Sir Percy Elly Bates, 4th Baronet

12 May 1879 – 16 October 1946

Sir Percy Elly Bates - Portrait

Sir Percy Elly Bates – Portrait

Percy Bates was the second son of Edward Percy Bates and grandson of Sir Edward Bates, 1st Baronet and a Conservative Member of Parliament. He dedicated much of his life to ship-building and in his role as Chairman of the Cunard-White Star Lines in later life, his policies were credited with leading towards the construction of some of the most famous passenger ships in history, including the original Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I vessels.

Percy was born in Wavertree, Liverpool in 1879 and was first apprenticed to William Johnston & Co, a Liverpool shipbuilder; later joining the family firm Edward Bates & Sons after the death of his father in 1899. He became 4th Baronet after his elder brother, Edward Bertram Bates, died of enteric fever in India in 1903 and in 1910, he took up a role as a director of Cunard. When the First World War broke out, his experience suited him for service in the Transport Department of the Admiralty and he later rose to become Director of Commercial Services with responsibility for shipping civilian supplies in the newly-formed Ministry of Shipping. He was knighted for his services in 1920.

Percy served as High Sheriff and Justice of the Peace in Cheshire. But it wasn’t all work: he was also interested in literature and was an occasional member of The Inklings, the Oxford literary society which boasted JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis amongst its membership.

His only son, Edward Percy Bates, served as a pilot officer in the RAF in WWII and was killed on New Year’s Day 1945 while flying over Germany. His war grave is in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery in Germany.

Sir Percy Elly Bates' Grave, Childwall Churchyard, Liverpool

Sir Percy Elly Bates’ Grave, Childwall Churchyard, Liverpool

Sir Percy died a year later. After suffering a heart attack while in his office on 14 October 1946, he died at home on 16th October, the day he was supposed to have attended the launch and maiden voyage of his ship, The Queen Elizabeth. He is buried in Childwall Churchyard, Liverpool.


Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.