He was born in Kensington, London, England on August 26th, 1893 as the son of Francis Burgess (b. 1857), a plasterer's labourer, and Sarah Phippard (b. 1857), both natives of Swanage, Dorset who had married in St Peter's Church, Oldham, Lancashire on 31 October 1875.
Charles had seven known siblings: Eliza (b. 1878), Elizabeth (b. 1880), Mabel (b. 1882), Benjamin Edmund (b. 1884), Kate (b. 1887), Jane (b. 1889) and Ethel (b. 1891).
The family initially lived in Swanage before resettling in London around 1885, eventually returning to Swanage. Charles first appears on the 1901 census living with his family at 32 Edge Street, Kensington, London. He would be absent from the 1911 census, perhaps at sea, but his parents and sibling Mabel are listed as living at 5 Osborne Cottages, Court Hill, Swanage.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on April 4th, 1912; he gave his address as 65 Bridge Road, Southampton. His last ship was the Olympic and as extra third baker he received monthly wages of £4, 10s.
Burgess said of the voyage prior to the sinking that in the two dozen Atlantic voyages he had made that he'd never seen a calmer crossing with on board conditions running very smoothly. On the night of the collision he was on the night watch with several other bakers when they felt a slight shock, to which they exclaimed "Hallo! there goes a blade!" but took no further notice and continued working for some time before Chief Baker Joughin ordered him topside with provisions for the lifeboats. He went to the larder and brought four spare loaves of bread to the Boat Deck, and all other bakers did the same.
Later, Burgess returned to the bakehouse, remembering he had left butter on a stove to melt to make corn bread. Whilst waiting at his stationed lifeboat, number 13, he was instructed to go and call other bakers up who had been off watch at the time which he did but received abuse from them for waking them. He returned to the boat deck and got into his lifeboat, which was then lowered to A Deck to receive more passengers. When the boat began its final descent it contained close to 70 people and Charles described Lifeboat 15 coming close to landing on top of them:
He later recalled the ship playing Nearer My God To Thee and how the ship broke in two as she plunged.
Upon Charles' return home to Swanage he was received by a large crowd of well-wishers and the bells of the local church peeled.
Charles continued working at sea into the 1920s. What became of him is unknown  although there is indication that he died in the 1950s. He was the last crew member of the Titanic to be in active duty.
- ↑ Burgess was long believed to have died in Southampton on 7 April 1972. The Mr Burgess who died on this date was in fact an imposter named Reginald Douglas Burgess who was born in Natal, South Africa on 28 June 1892.