Robert was born on 23rd April 1880 in Faversham, Kent.
The 1881 census was taken on 3rd April and stated that Robert was aged one, living with his parents Charles and Mary and sister Alice, in Union Road, Faversham. He was baptised 2 days after his birth, in 1880 - although all Naval records state his year of birth as 1881.
In 1891 Robert then had 2 further siblings and the whole family resided at Wallers Row, Faversham.
He joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 28th October 1898, beginning his training on HMS NORTHAMPTON, a previous Nelson class armoured cruiser, converted to a training ship in 1894.
He left the ship on 10th February 1899 ranking as a Boy 1st Class, transferring to :-
HMS CURACOA 11/02/1899 - 10/07/1899, rising to Ordinary Seaman.
PEMBROKE - 11/07/1899 - 05/09/1899
JUPITER - 06/09/1899 - 08/11/1899
HANNIBAL - 09/11/1899 - 10/12/1899
JUPITER - 11/12/1899 - 14/01/1901
?? (unreadable) - 15/01/1901 - 12/05/1904, rising to Able Seaman
PEMBROKE I - 13/05/1904 - 02/01/1905
SPEEDY - 03/01/1905 - 06/06/1905
PEMBROKE - 07/06/1905 - 11/08/1905
AMPHITRITE - 12/058/1905 - 20/02/1907
COCHRANE - 21/02/1907 - 17/02/1908
BACCHANTE - 18/02/1908 - 02/58/1910 *serving 12 years
PEMBROKE - 03/05/1910 - 08/12/1910
ACTAEON - 09/12/1910 - 25/01/1911
CIRCE - 26/01/1911 - 31/03/1911
ACTAEON - 01/04/1911 - 18/05/1911
CIRCE - 19/05/1911 - 23/10/1911
ACTAEON - 24/10/1911 - 17/03/1912
SPEEDWELL - 18/03/1912 - 31/07/1912
ACTAEON - 01/08/1912 - 06/09/1912
PEMBROKE - 07/09/1912 - 17/09/1912
ST GEORGE - 18/09/1912 - 18/07/1913
PEMBROKE I - 19/07/1913 - 29/09/1913
ABOUKIR - 30/09/1913 - 06/11/1913
DIAMOND - 07/11/1913 - 07/11/1913
PEMBROKE I - 08/11/1913 - 02/12/1913
VANGUARD - 03/12/1913 - 09/07/1917, serving aboard during the Battle of Jutland. Sometime after June 1914 he received his Good Conduct Medal, number 44227.
Robert was 5'5" tall with light brown hair, blue eyes, a dot and "RG" tattoos on his left forearm.
Perhaps it was the tattoo of his initials that helped identify him, but Robert was one of the very few crew members who were laid to rest in Lyness Cemetery. He lies with one of his unidentified crew mates on the island of Hoy, Orkney. In an earlier photo of the cemetery Robert Gamble’s plot can be seen prior to the headstone being placed. As with the headstones at the rear of the photo, these were Imperial War Graves Commission, the previous name for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The headstones would have been changed after 1960.
His Star, Victory and British war medals were issued to his father following his death, along with his pension. He is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial and locally in the Faversham Memorial Garden.
#242 - 309/843
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
1881 & 1891 England Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 350
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 008 (1914 - 1919)
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 102
Navy Lists, 1888-1970
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/8; Scan Number: 0493
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 076/0347/Gal-Gam
Photos courtesy of Naval Occasions, Brian Budge and Jason Madams