Mr Reginald Hale was born in Rodney Stoke, Somerset, England in the summer of 1881 and baptised on 4 August.
He was the son of Silvester Hale (b. 1849), a publican who ran the Rodney Stoke Inn, and Hester Simmons (b. 1850), natives of Priddy, Somerset who had married in Bristol on 5 December 1870.
One of fourteen children, Reginald's siblings were: Cordelia (1870-1939, later Mrs William Wilfred Walker), John James (1872-1874), William Silvester (1874-1940), Milicent Louisa (1876-1950, later Mrs Edward James Ashman), Percy (1877-1882), Tom (1878-1882), George Wentworth (1880-1960), Roland (1883-1957), Samson Trevor (1886-1931), Howard (1887-1974), Matthew Cecil (1888-1958) and Caroline (1892-1965, later Mrs Herbert Thayer). He also had a twin sister, Florence (1881-1964, later Mrs Harry Clifford Lukins).
Hale first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were shown residing at the Rodney Stoke Inn; still present there by the time of the 1901 census he was described as a farmer's son. He never married and later emigrated and settled in the USA, although exactly when is not clear(1).
Settling in Auburn, New York Reginald gained employment as a janitor/gardener at the Home for the Friendless, located at 46 Grant Avenue (where he appears on the 1910 census) and had been originally set up in the early 1870's to serve widows and children of the Civil War. He was described "as a willing worker and a young man of good habits. He was always obliging, and people at the home became greatly attached to him."
Hale's father died on 4 November 1911 and he left Auburn to be with his mother for Christmas, sailing for England on the Olympic and arriving in Southampton 9 December 1911. He had planned to return to Auburn in March of 1912 but was unable to secure a passage in that month due to the coal strikes. On 1 April he wrote to the White Star agent, Mr Sidney Wills in Auburn:
''After keeping you waiting so long, I have made up my mind at last to drop a line telling you that I expect to return to the USA, on the 'Titanic' that sails from Southampton on 10th of April.''
He boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passenger (ticket number 250653 which £13).
Reginald Hale died in the sinking; his body was subsequently recovered from the sea on 22 April by the cable-laying vessel MacKay Bennett (#75). A description was made and personal effects removed for forwarding on to his relatives.
NO. 75. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 28. HAIR, FAIR, LIGHT MOUSTACHE.
CLOTHING - Dark overcoat; dark suit; black socks; black boots; striped shirt.
EFFECTS - Gloves; keys; purse; $10 bill; 16s. 4d.
SECOND CLASS TICKET
NAME - REG. HALE
His mother had wanted the body to be buried in Rodney Stoke and Reginald's Lodge, General Gordon, No. 211, Sons of St. George, was prepared to pay the costs involved but when the Auburn White Star agent, Mr Wills, travelled to Halifax to receive the body and to make arrangements for it to be returned to England he was told on arrival that the body had been buried at sea on 24 April. This was confirmed in a telegram sent to Hale's mother:
Regret to advise that it was necessary to bury the body of Reginald Hale at sea.
A memorial exists in the Rodney Vale Cemetery in Rodney Stoke, Somerset. The inscription reads:
In loving memory
From the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund his mother received 2s 0d weekly subsidies. Reginald's estate worth £100 was administered to his mother on 24 July 1912.
Reginald's mother Hester remained in Rodney Stoke where she died on 20 May 1924. His last surviving sibling was his brother Howard who died in Rodney Stoke on 6 October 1974 aged 87. Reginald's twin sister died in Draycott, Somerset on 15 June 1964.