Richard Charles Geddes was born in Carlisle, Cumbria, England in late-1880 and his birth was registered in the last quarter of that year. He was the son of Richard Charles Geddes (1848-1894) and Ann Thomlinson (1846-1924), both Cumberland-natives who had married in Carlisle in 1872.
On the 1881 census Richard is listed as a 6-month-old infant with his family at 21 Corporation Road, Rickergate, Carlisle. His father is described as a general labourer and present also are his siblings: Ann Bousted (b. 1873), John (b. 1877) and James Bousted (b. 1879). On the 1891 census Richard and his family are living at Hodgsons Lane, Stanwix, Cumbria and his father is now listed as a gardener. He has also gained a sibling, Emma (b. 1887).
Richard was married in Carlisle in early 1900 to Sarah Ann Armstrong (b. 1879 in Carlisle). The couple are listed on the 1901 census living at "Brunstock" (?) in Crosby-on-Eden, Stanwix, Cumbria with their 8-month-old daughter Elsie. Richard is described as a solicitor's clerk.
By the time of the 1911 census the family have resettled in Hampshire following a brief spell in Liverpool where their son Leslie Stuart was born in 1905. The 1911 census lists them living at 80 Grove Road, Freemantle, Southampton and Richard is described as a ship's steward. Richard and his wife would have another child, Marjorie, later on September 18, 1911.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, Richard gave his address as 80 Grove Road, Southampton. His last ship had been the Olympic. As a bedroom steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s.
Richard penned a letter to his wife which was posted in Queenstown (spelling and grammar uncorrected):
On board RMS Titanic
My dearest Sal
We got away yesterday after a lot of trouble. As we were passing the New York and Oceanic the New York broke her ropes and nearly ran into us but we just happened to avoid a collision. I could see visions of Belfast it must have been a trying time for the Captain.
Well sweetheart there is none of us got much of a show and there won't be much made on the outward journey but it wont matter as long as we get something good on the homeward one. well it cannot be helped we might be luckier next trip, now I hope you are feeling good and not worrying, because I think you needn't. how is my little sweetheart getting along I guess she misses me a wee bit, what do you think;
This ship is going to be a good deal better than the Olympic at least I think so, steadier and everything up till now.
If we get in on time on Wednesday and there happens to be a boat I will write from New York but you see if there isn't it will come by ours and that won't be any good.
I will drop a letter card to... you had better write too. I will close now dear I haven't any news. I am feeling pretty good.
With fondest love and kisses to my dear wife and kiddies.
Your affectionate husband Dick xxxxx
Geddes died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
Richard's widow Sarah Ann gained financial assistant from the Titanic Relief Fund and she never remarried. She died in Droxford, Hampshire in 1951 aged 71.
His son Leslie would later marry Queenie Phillips in 1930 and died in Southampton in 1940. His daughter Marjorie married Frank Eames in 1935 and she passed away in Southampton in 1997. His daughter Elsie was married in 1919 to Arthur Davies but what became of her isn't certain.
Richard Charles Geddes is remembered on the family grave at Stanwix Cemetery, Carlisle.
A husband's letter to his wife shed new light on other possible things that might have led to the Titanic disaster. A letter penned by steward Richard Geddes...