Robert was born in Montreux, Switzerland on the 4th May 1877. He was of Swiss nationality, his father Auguste Florian Chessex was brother to Ami Chessex (Politician and Hotelier of Le Montreux Palace)
After education at Gymnase de Lausanne and the King Edward VI Grammar School in Berkhamsted, he won a scholarship to read Modern Languages at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1896 achieving a B.A - 3rd Class in Medieval and Modern Languages Tripos.
He moved to Buxten College, Derbyshire as a Language Master in 1900, until 1903. In January 1903 he obtained his British Citizenship, enabling him to teach within a Royal Navy establishment. The same year he moved to Dartmouth where he taught aboard HMS BRITANNIA until the Naval College building was completed in 1905. He left the following year and went aboard HMS KING EDWARD VII (being at sea) for a year.
In 1907 he returned to the Royal Naval College, leaving in 1908. His next post was School Master at Dulwich College Preparatory School, arriving in 1909. Shortly afterwards he married Maud Mary Wilcock, on 7th April 1909 in Didsbury, and settled down into married and school life.
1914 saw the start of the war and another move for Robert teaching at St Paul's School, West Kensington. He and Maud moved to 7 Playfair Mansions, Queen's Club Gardens, Hammersmith (telephone number 1852).
Already held on retention within the RNVR Robert went into service with the Navy in 1915 as a (temporary) Lieutenant. His duty within the Grand Fleet was as an Interpreter and was first assigned to HMS BENBOW on 14th August 1915. He was aboard the ship during the Battle of Jutland; BENBOW led the 4th Battle Squadron which included BELLEROPHON, TEMERAIRE and VANGUARD, none of them receiving any damage during the conflict.
In June 1916, shortly after the naval battle, Robert was posted to HMS HERCULES - it is unknown if he was attached to this ship for long or when he transferred to HMS VANGUARD.
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Cambridge University Alumni
British Phone Books, 1880-1984 BT Archives; London, England; British Phone Books 1880-1984
1901 & 1911 England Census
London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965 - Ancestry.com
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD
Manchester, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 - Ancestry.com
UK, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Service Records Index, 1903-1922
Peter Singlehurst; Year: 1916
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995
Dulwich College Preparatory School