HISTORY buffs deny there is any confusion over the siting of a commemorative plaque honouring an heroic Bolton mariner.

This Saturday the plaque marking the childhood home of Sir Arthur Rostron - the sea captain who came to the rescue of hundreds of Titanic survivors - is to be unveiled.

Friends of Sir Arthur's family will join council dignitaries and local historians outside the house in Blackburn Road, Sharples for the special ceremony.

And organisers are "absolutely confident" that they have identified the house as that in which Sir Arthur spent some of his childhood.

The assurances come after some BEN readers queried claims that the famed merchant seaman had lived there.

Sir Arthur, who received the American Congressional Medal of Honour for his bravery in the First World War, hit the headlines after steering the SS Carpathia towards the stricken Titanic. His crew pulled 703 people to safety.

Yesterday Derek Mills, a member of Bolton and District Civic Trust, who commissioned the plaque, stressed that records confirmed Sir Arthur had lived in the stone cottage.

He added: "There is no doubt that he definitely lived there in his childhood.

"Some people phoned us to say their relatives had lived in the house, not Sir Arthur. But what some people haven't realised is that this was only his childhood home.

"It's not the place where he was born or where he lived all his life. He was born in 1869 and so we're talking about the period around 1879, which is a long time ago."

It was Bolton man Chris Gregory who discovered Sir Arthur had lived at the house, while he was investigating his own family's history.

Census records of 1881 revealed the famed seafarer lived in the house as an 11-year-old and was the neighbour of Chris's grandmother.

Sir Arthur, who died in 1940, even presented a copy of a book he had written to Chris's father, Noel, in which he inscribed "With best wishes to Noel Gregory, the son of one of my boyhood friends and near neighbours."

And Mr Mills believes some of the confusion over whether Sir Arthur did or did not live in the stone cottage may be because houses along the road were once re-numbered.

He added: "We're sure that Sir Arthur spent part of his childhood at that address. We're grateful to the people who have rung in about this but we already know he was not born there and his family did not stay there permanently."

Friends of Sir Arthur's family will travel to Bolton for the unveiling ceremony but his elderly daughter, Margaret Howman, 85, will not be able to travel from her Bristol home.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.