Steward who died on the Titanic to be commemorated at Highgate Cemetery

A steward who perished on the Titanic will be commemorated for the first time at Highgate Cemetery a century after his tragic death.

Ernest Thomas Barker, 40, was among the 1,500 people who lost their lives as the trip of a lifetime turned to tragedy when the ship struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage.

The first class steward was enjoying a rare evening off when disaster struck.

His body, clad in just pyjamas and a jacket, was fished out of the icy waters and buried at sea.

Ian Kelly, a Highgate Cemetery trustee, said: “I found his grave many, many years ago and told everyone I had seen it, but I think people must have thought I was making it up because we couldn’t find it again. We only recently rediscovered it.

“It is not a grave that attracts a lot of interest because it is very modest, but it is very interesting.

“It was his parent’s grave. You can see that the family have scratched out a name of a barman who was commemorated on the gravestone, to make room for Ernest’s name as lasting memorial to him.”

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Ernest Barker grew up in nearby Islington where his father, Thomas, and mother, Isabella, ran the Golden Lion pub.

He moved to number four Grand Parade, in Haringey, before joining up to the ill fated ship’s crew.

When the luxury cruise ship struck the iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, Ernest Barker’s death and those of 1,500 others were etched onto the memory of horrified public all over the world.

But little apart from the bare details of his upbringing are known about his life.

Those behind the memorial’s repair hope members of his family will hear of the restoration and come forward with more details of his life.

Ed Daley, also a trustee of Highgate Cemetery who rediscovered the grave and led the project to restore it, said: “It would be great if the family got back in touch, sometimes they can tell you stories about people like Ernest Barker, which we would otherwise never have discovered.”