Drayton’s Link with the Sinking of HMS Titanic

EDWARD JOHN WILLEY

Yesterday was the 108th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and you may be interested to know that one of the victims was a Drayton lad.


Edward Willey was born in Wales in 1891, but came to stay with his grandparents in Drayton between his birth and 1901 as he appears on the 1901 census living with his Grandparents, Edward and Martha Willey in Holborn Street (now known as East Street)  On the 1911 census they are living in North Street. They are Ag Labs.

According to the Encyclopaedia Titanic. org. Edward was contacted by his paternal uncles who had emigrated in the 1890’s, settling in Schenectady. A lot of Drayton boys went there during this time.  Edward’s uncle, Frank Willey, sent him the funds for his journey and he was going to make his home in Loudonville Rd, Schenectady.

The last message that Frank received from his nephew was telling him that he had arranged passage on the Philadelphia. However, the coal strikes meant the cancellation of that voyage so Edward’s passage was switched to the Titanic.

Edward boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a third-class passenger (ticket number S.O./P.P. 751 which cost £7, 11s) His body was never found. He was just 19 years old.

Uncle Frank allegedly lived with the guilt of Edward’s death for the rest of his life.  

Edward’s grandmother died in 1916 and his grandfather in 1922, both in  Drayton.

This is Edward (left) with his Father and brother.

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