Alice Cleaver

Alice Catherine Cleaver was a survivor of the RMS Titanic and nursemaid for the Allison family, wealthy insurance moguls from Canada during the early 20th century. She is best known for rescuing the youngest Allison child, Trevor, from the Titanic.[1] Little is known about her later life, as she refused to give interviews after surviving the shipwreck.[2] She was the subject of books and movies that misidentified her as Alice Mary Cleaver, a woman who was infamous for murdering her own infant.[2][3][4]

Alice Cleaver
Alice Cleaver holding Trevor Allison, the baby she saved from the Titanic
Alice Catherine Cleaver

(1889-07-05)5 July 1889
London, England
Other namesMiss Alice Catherine Cleaver
Known forTitanic survivor

Early lifeEdit

Alice Catherine Cleaver was born in London on 5 July 1889. Her father Joseph Cleaver was a postman, and her mother was Lavinia Alice Cleaver (maiden name Thomas).[3]


When she was 22, Cleaver was hired by the Allison family to be a nursemaid for their youngest child, Trevor. She traveled first class on the Titanic with them (under ticket No. 113781)[3] and boarded in Southampton. She stayed in the same room as Trevor so that she could care for him, which was right next to the parents in first class.[2]

Night of the shipwreckEdit

On 14 April 1912 the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and started to sink.[5] Cleaver took Trevor into her lifeboat, but didn't tell anyone. Speculation claims this confusion could have led to the Allison family perishing, as the mother Bess would not want to leave her son behind.[6] Testimony from that night has speculated why she never alerted the Allisons to her departure from her room, but Cleaver herself never spoke of the incident.[1][2][3][4]


There has been some confusion over the age and identity of Alice Cleaver, with some mistaking her for Alice Mary Cleaver, a woman who was convicted in 1909 for the murder of her own child.[4] This misconception was printed as fact in at least two books about the sinking of the Titanic, Titanic: An Illustrated History (1992) and Titanic: Women and Children First (1998), and was included as part of the plot for the 1996 television mini-series Titanic.[4][3] In the miniseries Cleaver was portrayed as an emotionally unstable young woman with premonitions of the disaster, who then sees the opportunity to rescue baby Trevor from the sinking ship as a saving grace from her tumultuous past.[4]

Cleaver's age has also been debated due to descriptions of her being a competent nursemaid and a good maternal figure, which Titanic Lives author Rob Rondeau believes were indicative of an older woman.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Lost child of the Titanic and the fraud that haunted her family". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rondeau, Rob (2012-04-16). Titanic Lives: On Board, Destination Canada. Formac Publishing Company Limited. ISBN 9781459500198.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Alice Catherine Cleaver : Titanic Survivor | Miss Alice Catherine Cleaver". Encyclopedia Titanica. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  4. ^ a b c d e Koldau, Linda Maria (2012-05-07). The Titanic on Film: Myth versus Truth. McFarland. ISBN 9780786490370.
  5. ^ "The weather during the Titanic disaster: looking back 100 years". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  6. ^ Hustak, Alan. "THE TITANIC; As least 32 passengers were bound for Montreal: [FINAL Edition]". The Gazette. ProQuest 432268914.

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