Robert George Roberts was born in Bransgore, Christchurch, Hampshire, England in 1877 and his birth was registered in the first quarter of that year. He was the son of Frederick Robert (1848-1916) and Kiturah Broomfield (1845-1921). His father was a native of Lincolnshire and his mother from Hampshire and they had married in 1867 in Christchurch.
He has five known siblings: Eliza (b. 1870), Laura Louise (b. 1872), Clara Charlotte (b. 1880), Lucy (b. 1883) and Walter Frederick (b. 1886).
Robert first appears on the 1881 census when living at 4 Hunts Road, Woolston, Hampshire with his family. His father was described as an engine fitter and his mother as a dressmaker. The family have moved to 7 Osborne Terrace, Woodley Road, Woolston by the time of the 1891 census and Robert is still at school. By the time of the 1901 census Robert is described as a general labourer and still living with his family, now at an address in Shirley, Hampshire.
He was married in 1904 to Lily Florence Williams (b. 1886 in Southampton) and together they would have four children: Edith Florence (b. November 24, 1904), Harry Edward (b. 1907), Ethel Lily Clara (b. June 2, 1909) and Ernest George (b. January 19, 1912)
On the 1911 census Robert and his family are living at 5 Wheelers Court, Queens Street, Southampton and Robert is listed as a labourer in the joinery works.
Family recount a tale in which Robert arrived home early one day and found is wife in a compromising position and with a young man named Thomas J. Thorne jumping through a window, trousers around his knees. This event compelled Robert to leave the joinery works and go to sea.
When Robert signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address was 5 Wheelers Court, Southampton and his previous ship as the Oceanic. As a fireman Robert could expect monthly waged of £6.
Robert George Roberts was lost in the Titanic disaster. His body, if recovered, was never identified. The following death notice appeared in the Hampshire Independent (unknown date):
ROBERTS-April 15th, at sea, on s.s. Titanic, Robert Feorge aged 35 years, the dearly beloved son of Mr and Mrs F. Roberts of 12 Granville Street, Chapel, Southampton. Deeply mourned by his sorrowing family.
His widow Lily was married to Thomas Thorne (b. 1883)--the man with whom she had been discovered--in early 1913 and they had two children, Rose and Thomas. Lily died in Southampton in 1949. Thomas died in 1959.
Robert's daughter Edith was married in 1925 to Richard A. Hollins and they had two daughters and one son. She died in Southampton in 1991.
His son Harry was married in 1928 to Minnie Zastrow Hammel (1907-1991) and they had a daughter named Sylvia. Harry died April 11, 1964 in Winchester aged 57.
His daughter Ethel Lily Clara was married in 1930 to Arthur Frank Long (son of Titanic fireman and victim Frank Long) and they had two children. She was widowed in 1961 and in 1970 was remarried to Frank Arthur Viney at the age of 61. She died September 23, 1987 in Southampton.
His son Ernest George was never married. He joined the Royal Navy and served as a mechanic during WWII. He was on board the HMS Hood and became one of 1415 casualties when that ship was sunk by the Bismarck on May 24, 1941. He is remembered on Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Gavin Bell, UK