Robert Frederick William Couper was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 27 March 1883 1. He was the son of Robert Couper (1852-1920), an engraver, and Stirling Manley (1852-1893). Both his parents were native to Southampton and had married on 13 July 1873.
Robert came from a large family, having at least seven siblings: Roberta Stirling (b. 1873), Maxwell Robert (b. 1877), Marion Frederica (b. 1879), St George Augustus (b. 1881), Leopold Roland (b. 1884), Alphonso Paul (b. 1886) and Victoria Ruth (b. 1888).
Robert first appears on the 1891 census living with his family at 30 Kingsfield Road, All Saints, Southampton. His mother died in 1893 and by the time of the 1901 census Robert and his brother Leopold were listed as boarders at 8 York Street, St Mary Southampton, both described as boiler makers by profession, but the whereabouts of his father and youngest siblings is not listed on the census. His father eventually died in Southampton in 1920.
Robert was married in Southampton in 1910 to Emily Alice Westbury (b. 1886 in Hampshire).
Robert would miss the 1911 census but his wife and mother-in-law Alice Westbury were listed as living at 101 Dukes Road, St Denys, Southampton. It is indicated on this record that Robert and his wife have had a child on this record but no child is listed at the address and his/her identity is unknown. The child apparently died in infancy and Robert and Emily would have no further children.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, Robert gave his address as 101 Dukes Road (Southampton). Prior to joining the Titanic he had served on the Olympic. As a Fireman he received £6 per month. He came aboard at 6 a.m. on 10 April.
Couper was rescued (possibly in lifeboat 3). He returned to Southampton and continued his career and was still working at sea in the 1920s.
He died on 31 December 1941 at Southampton Docks. His widow Emily later lived at 12 Charles Street, Southampton and passed away on 1 June 1963.
- The date 27th March 1882 comes from his CR10 identity card (from c.1919). In the document he gives his height as: 5ft 2.5in, with blue eyes and brown hair. His address at the time was 2 Surrey Place, Kingsland, Southampton.
References and Sources
United States Senate, Washington 1912. n° 806, Crew List
Crew Particulars of Engagement
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
British Census 1891-1911
GRO Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths
National Archives (CR10 Identity Card, Discharge #680491, Crown Copyright)
Gavin Bell, UK
Michael Poirier, USA
Brian Ticehurst, UK
Bill Wormstedt, USA
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