Mr Robert Thomas Reid

Mr Robert Thomas Reid (Trimmer) was born in late 1881 1 in Gosport, Hampshire, England.

He was the son of William George Reid (b. 1857), a general labourer, and Caroline Seagoe (b. 1857), natives of Wiltshire and Kent respectively who had married in Gosport in 1879.

He had three known siblings: Cecilia (b. 1879), William George (b. 1885) and Mary Ann (b. 1889) and he came from a Church of England religious background.

In the months prior to Robert's birth his family were listed on the 1881 census as residents of 10 St John's Place in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. When Reid appears on the 1891 census the family are living at 2 Wallingford Place, Alverstoke, Hampshire. His father died in the Autumn of 1894 aged 37; his mother at the time was carrying the child of another man, Joseph Franks (b. 1851), a mariner originally from Warwickshire. The child, Eliza, was born towards the end of 1894 and Reid's mother and Joseph Franks were wed two years later.

The whereabouts of Reid at the time of the 1901 census are not certain but his mother, step-father, sister Mary and half-sister Eliza were listed as living at 7 St Mary's Place, Southampton.

Apparently having pursued a career as a farmhand, Reid signed up for the Army Service Corps on 1 May 1905. Described as standing at 5' 2¾" he weighed 120 lbs and had light brown hair, light blue eyes and a sallow complexion. He also had a scar on his forehead and on the left side of his neck and his second toe on the left foot was deformed (hammer toe). His regiment number was 23077 and it is believed he served at Aldershot on at least two occasions but other details are unknown.

By the time of the 1911 census Robert is a boarder at 2 Vyse Lane, French Street, Southampton. He was unmarried and described as a general labourer.

When he signed on to the Titanic on April 6, 1912, he gave his address as 3 Wickhams Court, Southampton. As a trimmer he received £5, 10s per month. Also serving aboard was his brother-in-law Henry Allen, the husband of his sister Cecilia.

Robert Reid was lost in the disaster, as well as his brother-in-law. His body, if recovered, was not identified.

His mother later wrote to the Army Service Corps to inform them of her son's loss:

April 29 1912
64 French St.

Dear Sir

I am very sorry to inform you that my son R. T. Reid was unfortunately engaged on the Titanic as a trimmer & was drowned. I am herewith sending you his identity papers.

Yours truly

Mrs C. Franks

His mother continued to live in Southampton where she died in 1917. His last known surviving sibling, Mary, was married twice, losing her first husband George Henry Brownsea at a young age before she remarried to James Wright in late 1912. She died in Southampton in 1953.

Gavin Bell, UK

  1. His birth was registered as "Robert Thomas Read" in Alverstoke in the last quarter of 1881. At the time of his enlistment in the Army Service Corps on 1 May 1905 he claimed to be 23 years and 6 months old, placing his time of birth in late November or early December 1881. 
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