Robert John Adams was born in Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England on 7 June 1885. He was the son of Robert Adams (1849-1893) and Kate Knott (1853-1934). His parents, both natives of Hampshire, were married in Portsea in 1879.
Robert had six siblings: twins Frederick and Kate (b. 1887), Ernest (b. 1889), Charles (b. 1891), Ada Lilian (b. 1892) and Ellen (b. 1895).
Robert first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were living at 13 Nelson Road, Millbrook, Hampshire. His father, a mariner, died in 1893.
On the 1901 census the family are living at 27 Pound Street, Shirley and his mother and unmarried aunt Charlotte are supporting the family by working as laundresses. Robert is listed as a Points Boy for the Tramway Company. By the time of the 1911 census Robert's mother is listed as living at 4 Oriental Street, Shirley but Robert is absent, presumably at sea.
When Robert signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 168 Pound Tree Road, Southampton His previous ship had been the Tagus. As a fireman he received monthly wages of £6.
Robert Adams died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His mother later settled in Canada with one of her daughters and died there in 1934.