James William Robinson was born in Portsea, Hampshire, England on 6 August 1881.
He was the son of James Tribe Robinson (b. 1859), an able seaman, and Elizabeth Ann Gill Evans (b. 1960). His father hailed from Sussex and his mother from Dorset and they had married in Southampton in 1879. At the time of the 1881 census the couple were childless and living at 17 Frederick Street, Portsea.
James was one of nine children, six of whom lived past infancy. His known siblings were: Laura Bessie (b. 1883), Frederick (b. 1887), Bessie Rebecca (b. 1889), Thomas Henry (b. 1893) and Florence Rose (b. 1904).
His father later left the sea and moved he and his family to Chadwell, Essex where he took up a position as a harbour lock gateman and would be listed on the 1891 census living at 59 Tilbury Dwellings and the 1901 census at 188 Dock Dwellings. James was not listed with his family at either address on these census records and his whereabouts at the time are unknown but he went to sea as a young man and became a steward.
James was married in Southampton in 1902 to Lillian Emily Bruce Pike (b. 1881 in Shirley, Hampshire, daughter of Robert and Sarah Pike). The couple had one child, Laurence Bruce (b. 1906).
James was likely at his seafaring duties at the time of the 1911 census and would be absent from home when his wife and son were listed as living at 5 Bath Cottage, Carlisle Road, Shirley.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, James gave his address as Vine Cottage, Carlisle Road, (Southampton). His last ship had been the New York. As a saloon steward he received monthly wages of £3, 15s.
James Robinson died in the sinking. His body was later recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#151) and buried at sea on 24 April 1912.
NO. 151. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 32. FAIR - HAIR AND MOUSTACHE.
CLOTHING - Dark clothes; Steward's white coat.
EFFECTS - Plain ring on left finger; heart shaped locket (empty); knife; empty purse.
NAME ON COAT - J. M. ROBINSON.
James' son Laurence died aged only 12 in 1918. His widow Lillian remained in Southampton for the rest of her life but was not remarried until 1928 when she wed John H. Dixon. She died in 1947.