Robert was born on 5th April 1881 in the St George area of Edinburgh, Scotland to Fred and Jane and recorded with them on the 1891 census ten years later, along with three older sisters at 2 Rosebery Lane, Edinburgh.
Within the following ten years Robert had left school and worked as a clerk at an engineering works at the time of the 1901 census; he was still recorded as living at home with his parents and youngest sister Margaret at 51 Roseburn Terrace, Edinburgh.
His first address away from his family was still in the city, at 9 Ardmillan Place, tenanting the property along with his wife Catherine (O’Donnell) whom he married at West Linton in 1908.
He remained working as a clerk after the 1911 census and was recorded living at 53 Comely Bank Avenue on the 1911/1912 electoral register, but had moved to number 49 by 1912/13.
At some time before joining the Navy for the duration of hostilities Robert had signed up with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, but transferred on 17th July 1916 to HMS VIVID I as a Ships Steward Assistant. He remained with the shore base until 30th August 1916 and joined HMS VANGUARD, his only ship, the following day. He was 5’2” tall with brown hair and blue eyes
His Victory and British war medals were awarded to his widow, as well as his pension, following his death. His death was lamented at his local parish church by the Rev M’Lintock “ A young man of devout disposition, amiable character, attentive to duty and devoted to his home, his widow and daughter are in deep sorrow. He is spoken of in honoured terms by all who knew him”.
He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
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Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
1891, 1901 Scotland 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: 1061
Edinburgh, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1832-1966 Edinburgh City Archives; Edinburgh, Scotland; Register of Voters for the City of Edinburgh and the Burgh of Leith; Reference: SL56/60
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
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/9; Scan Number: 0731
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 625/01APW
Image and text courtesy of the Book of Remembrance for Tweeddale