Mr Robert Knight was born as Thomas Knight at 24 Brady's Lane, Belfast, Ireland on 9 July 1869.
He was the son of an Irish father from Belfast, William Knight (b. circa 1830), a mechanic and foundry engineer, and an English mother from Yorkshire, Jane Briggs (b. circa 1831) who had married in Belfast on 24 December 1851.
His known siblings were: Ellen1 (b. circa 1853), Jane2 (b. circa 1856), William3 (b. circa 1860), Mary (b. 11 August 1864) and Margaret (b. 6 June 1867). The younger of his two sisters, Mary and Maggie remained unmarried and the younger, Maggie, died from kidney failure on 17 March 1892 aged 24. Mary, a housekeeper, later lived at 163 Ainsworth Avenue in Woodvale, Belfast and died from influenza on 6 November 1918 aged 54.
Robert was still a young man when both his parents died; his father succumbed to a heart infection on 29 October 1879 and he helped nurse his mother during her final illness and she died from pneumonia on 7 March 1888; the home address at the time of his mother's passing was 87 Dundee Street, Belfast.
Apprenticed as an engineer, Knight commenced work at Harland & Wolff's Queen's Island as a fitter on 2 June 1891. A valued and reliable employee, he was promoted to the position of leading hand engineer on 1 January 1903.
He was married in St Stephen's Church, Belfast on 31 March 1894 to Sarah McEvoy (b. 1870), a native of Scotland and daughter of labourer Joseph McEvoy; he was described as a fitter and their respective Belfast addresses were given as 45 Northumberland Street and 41 Blenheim Street.
The couple had four children: Jane (b. 1 January 1897), Robert (b. 14 November 1898), Joseph McEvoy (b. 4 April 1900) and William (b. 18 June 1904).
The family appear on the 1901 census of Ireland living at 16 Tasmania Street off the Shankill Road in Belfast; prior to that they had lived at 3 Tasmania Street. By the time of the 1911 census they had moved to 2 Yarrow Street in Clifton, north Belfast; on both occasions, Robert was described as an engine fitter. He was a Freemason and was attached to the Hertford Lodge.
Such was his standing at Harland & Wolff that Robert was one of the nine-strong "guarantee group" the shipbuilder's employees chosen to oversee the smooth running of the Titanic's maiden voyage. The contemporary press was in no doubt that Mr Knight was destined for promotion in due course.
Robert Knight, like the rest of his counterparts, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
A year after his death his widow place a memorial to him in the Belfast Newsletter (15 April 1913):
KNIGHT--In sad and loving memory of my dear husband, Robert Knight (late of Messrs Harland & Wolff's, Ltd.) who perished with White Star Liner Titanic on April 15th, 1912.
5 Yarrow Street, Sarah Knight
His widow and children remained in Belfast and Sarah Knight later nursed her aged father Joseph up to his death on 23 March 1918; their address then was still 5 Yarrow Street where Sarah would live for the rest of her life. She died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast on 21 November 1930 from a combination of her diabetes, heart failure and pneumonia. Although what became of her children is uncertain it is understood that they remained in Belfast.