Henry Wilde’s service record card for the Royal Naval Reserve. The card lists his previous ships since 1904 and the last entry records him as ‘drowned in Titanic, 15/4/1912’. Catalogue reference: ADM 340/145
Henry was away at sea, but the census form was filled in by his housekeeper, Jane Martindale. It includes four surviving children, Jane Elizabeth, Henry Owen, George Arnold and Annie, and a general servant. When Henry signed Titanic’s crew list and agreement, he gave his previous ship as Olympic. Wilde was to have continued sailing on Titanic’s sister ship, but Captain Smith drafted him in at the last minute as his Chief Officer, continuing the role he had carried out for Smith on Olympic. This move led to a reshuffle whereby William Murdoch was demoted to First Officer, Charles Lightoller to Second Officer, and David Blair, the intended Second Officer, left the ship. Blair is believed to have taken with him the key to the lookout binoculars for the crow’s nest.
Wilde was a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve and held an Extra Master’s certificate for the Merchant Navy. He was extremely experienced, having served on ten White Star Line ships prior to joining Titanic for her maiden voyage. These ships included Arabic, Cedric, Celtic, Cymric, Laurentic, Medic, Megantic, Olympic, Teutonic and Zeeland.
Wilde would have been in his cabin, on the boat deck, when Titanic collided with the iceberg. He was in charge of loading and launching many of the lifeboats on the port side of the ship and helped to launch the four collapsible boats. Henry Tingle Wilde did not survive the sinking of Titanic, and his body was not among those that were later recovered. His four children, along with his sister, Mrs Williams, later received money from the Titanic Relief Fund (case C23).