Alfred William Stanley Nichols was the Boatswain of the Titanic. He died in the sinking.

Early Life

Alfred Nichols was born as Albert William Stanley Nichols in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1864 and he grew up on Lord Howe Island. He was the son of Thomas George Charles Nichols, a mariner, and his wife Mary. Alfred reportedly left home at an early age and went to sea.

When Alfred, nicknamed "Big Neck," arrived in Britain is not certain. He was married in St Cyprian's Church, Edge Hill, West Derby, Lancashire on April 2nd, 1893 to Jane Porter (b. September 7th, 1870; daughter of George and Robina Porter), a native of Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland. At the time, the couple were residing at 46 Verdi Street, Seaforth, Lancashire, and Alfred described himself as a seaman. The couple went on to have three children: Grace (b. 1897), Thomas Alfred L. (1899 - 1975) and Jane "Jean" Agnes E. (1903 - 1991).

Alfred would be absent at the time of the 1901 census, likely at sea, but his wife and first two children are listed as living at 66 Chelsea Road, Litherland, Lancashire. The family moved southward to Southampton, possibly around 1907, to correspond with the shift of the White Star Line's main terminal to that city from Liverpool. They appear on the 1911 census living at 37 Oakley Road, Shirley, and Alfred is described as a mariner.


Alfred was on board the Titanic for her delivery trip from Belfast to Southampton. When he signed-on again, in Southampton, on April 6th, 1912; he gave his address as St. Cloud, Oak Tree Road, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic. As Boatswain, he received monthly wages of £8, 10s.

After the collision, Nichols was seen at lifeboats #3 & #1, helping to lower them away. At 1:05 A.M., he went to the port side, where Second Officer Lightoller ordered him and 6 other seamen to open some of the lower gangway doors to load lifeboats.

It is common believe that they never came back and they got locked up somewhere deep inside the ship, which doesn't match with Fred Barrett's account, as he saw Nichols on A Deck at 1:40 A.M., at the loading of Lifeboat 13.

Nichols' body, if recovered, was never identified.