Mr Robert Bittle was born in Keady, Co Armagh, Ireland on 9 April 1866. Coming from a Church of Ireland family, he was the son of James Bittle, a “sewed muslin agent”, and Ann Campbell.
He was first married in January 1890 to Hannah Gillespie whilst the pair were residents of Ada Street in Ballymacarrett in east Belfast. The marriage lasted less than a year as Hannah died from tuberculosis aged 21 in October 1890.
His second marriage was to Elizabeth Whaley when they were wed on 24 December 1896 and he was described as a widowed fireman who lived at 48 South Street, Belfast. A daughter Annie was welcomed in December 1897 but Robert’s wife never recovered from childbirth and died the early the following January aged 22. Hard on the heels of this came the death of his daughter Annie in September 1899 before she had reached the age of two.
His third marriage was on 1 April 1899, just prior to the death of his daughter. His new wife was Annie Whaley, his late wife’s sister. The couple went on to raise a family together and appear on the 1911 census living at 1 Trillick Street, Pottinger in east Belfast. At the time Robert was described as a shipyard worker and shown were four of his children.
Prior to Titanic Bittle had served aboard Olympic. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
Robert Bittle died in Belfast on 25 October 1922. He is buried in Moneyreagh Non-Subscribing Presbyterian churchyard, County Down, Ireland.