Mr Roderick Robert Crispin Chisholm

Roderick Chisholm

Roderick Robert Crispin Chisholm was born in Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, Scotland on 20 December 1868.

He was the son of a Scottish father, James Chisholm (b. 1832), a shipwright, and an English mother Sophia Voaden (b. 1841). His mother was from Devonshire whilst his father hailed from Urray, Rossshire and the couple had married in Devon in 1860. Roderick had three known siblings: Duncan (b. 1863), John (b. 1877) and Jessie (b. 1879).

The family appear on the 1881 census living at Old Kilpatrick in Dunbartonshire and by the time of the 1891 census they have shifted to living at 17 Clydebank Terrace in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire. Roderick was by that time described as a ships' draughtsman.

Roderick's draughtsman duties would take him to Belfast, Ireland in the later 1890s and he worked for Harland & Wolff. He was married in Lisburn, Co Down in 1897 to Susan Anderson (b. 1874 in Co Down) and the couple had two children: Alice (1897-2002) and James (1899-1960), both born in Belfast. On the 1901 census the family were living at 12 Sandford Avenue, Pottinger, east Belfast and by the 1911 census at 6 Sandford Avenue, Pottinger. On both occasions Roderick was described as a ship's draughtsman.

Susan Chisholm Roderick Chisholm

Susan and Roderick Chisholm
(Courtesy of Maureen Richardson)

Roderick was one of the nine-strong "guarantee group" of Harland and Wolff employees chosen to oversee the smooth running of the Titanic's maiden voyage. He, like the rest of his counterparts, died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate, worth £140, 5s, 6d, was administered to his widow on 10 June 1912.

His widow Susan remained at  6 Sandford Avenue, Pottinger for the rest of her life and died on 22 February 1961 aged 87. She is buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Belfast with her son James. Roberts' daughter Alice was married in Belfast in 1919 to Alfred McCambley (1894-1976) and she raised a family. She died on 11 February 2002 aged 104 and is buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Belfast.

Gavin Bell, UK


Roderick Chisholm



Susan Chisholm




Articles and Stories

Mourning in Belfast : Captain Smith's Prediction

The Times  (1912) 


Lifeboat Specifications


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