The day-to-day management of the activities of the White Star Line, owners of the Titanic, were overseen by a team of Superintendents based in Liverpool and Southampton. These were men with many years of experience aboard ship and the job as a shore-based superintendent saw them overseeing all aspects of planning, operation and crewing of the company's ships.
Frederick Blake was the Superintendent Engineer of the Company at Southampton, having worked for the White Star Line in Liverpool before relocating to Southampton following the company's transfer of its New York-bound express transatlantic service to Southampton in 1907. He later moved from Southampton to Compton, some ten miles to the north and two miles south of Winchester. He settled there with his wife until his death in 1930.
Frederick Blake oversaw the engineering activities of the company and the engineering departments of the White Star Line ships sailing from the Hampshire port. His role included the selection and appointment of the engineering department staff aboard the Titanic. Ships didn't have dedicated crew, instead before each voyage crew members were selected from a pool of men and signed on, recorded in the Particulars of Engagement, for the voyage.
He knew many of the engineers personally and he was good friends with the Titanic's chief engineer, Joseph Bell. Following the sinking, it was Frederick Blake who informed the families of the engineers, like that of electrician Herbert Jupe, that their son had died in the sinking. The sinking must have affected him greatly for the rest of his life, reflected in that his grave was modelled on the Engineers memorial in Southampton.
The grave of Frederick John Blake is modelled on the Titanic Engineers memorial in Southampton's East Park. That memorial, unveiled on 22 April 1914 just over two years after the sinking of the Titanic, is dedicated to the memory of the Titanic's thirty-five strong engineering staff, who died in the sinking. Frederick Blake, as the White Star Line's Engineering Superintendent at Southampton, would have selected many of these engineers; they will have been men he knew personally.
The grave mirrors the memorial's central figure of Glory, standing on the prow of a ship, and incorporates other element's of the memorial's design. Glory has her right arm outstretched by her side. Behind is set a plain semi-circular pediment; unlike the memorial in Southampton where the pediment carries two bas-relief brass panels showing engineers at work. The grave's pediment is set between a pair of twin columns, supporting the ends of the pediment. The figure of Glory and ship's prow stand on a plinth, projecting from a semi-circular exedra. The plinth of the grave carries the following inscription:
To the beloved memory of Frederick John Blake R.D. R.N.R. Born 21 November 1866 Died 25 July 1930 When man's work is done He shall enter into the life everlasting Elizabeth Blake Born 15 August 1868 Died 22 March 1951
The left-hand side of the grave carries the following inscription to Frederick and Elizabeth Blake's son, Alfred:
Alfred Basil Blake Engineer Captain Royal Navy February 9 1893 - July 22 1962
The right-hand side of the grave carries the following inscription, derived from the Book of Common Prayer:
Safe Lodgeing and peace at the last
- Blake, Frederick R (1912) Letter to the Engineer publication London: The Engineer, 26 April 1912
- Compton and Shawford Parish Council (2001) The story of the White Star Line Plates Compton: Compton and Shawford Parish Council, http://compton.parish.hants.gov.uk/whitstar.htm
- Hind, Philip et al (2013) Boykett Herbert Jupe Oxford: Encyclopedia Titanica, http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/herbert-jupe.html
- Hind, Philip et al (2013) Titanic Crew: Engineering Department Oxford: Encyclopedia Titanica, http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-engineering-crew/
- Institute of Marine Engineers Guild of Benevolence, The (1992) 80th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic - A tribute to the engineering staff London: The Institute of Marine Engineers