People on board
HOBSON, Richard Henry
Richard Henry Hobson was born in Belfast on 6 April 1908 to Nathaniel Hobson and Elizabeth Ham. He was named on his birth certificate as Henry Raymond. His parents had married in 1907 in Newtownbreda, just outside Belfast. Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Ham, was Secretary of the Ulster Spinning Company. Nathaniel’s father, Abraham, had been involved in the bakery business in Drogheda for nearly half a century, and Nathaniel was following in the same trade, declaring himself a ‘Pastry Baker’ on Richard’s birth certificate. A second son, Nathaniel Thomas, was born in 1909 and the family were living in Oakland Avenue in east Belfast.
Nathaniel set up a company, and was trading as N.J. Hobson & Co. Bakery, Confectionery and Catering. Unfortunately in 1913 both he and his father-in-law were declared bankrupt, and the family moved to Birkenhead in England, living in Daffodil Avenue. Here two more sons were born, Reginald in 1914 and Cecil in 1918, though Reginald died in 1916.
Nathaniel enlisted in 1915 in the 5th King’s Liverpool Regiment, fought in the trenches in France and was promoted to Lieutenant. In September / October 1918 Richard was in Ireland with his grandparents in Kingstown. This may have been because of the birth of his brother Cecil in September, or it has been also suggested that he was ill. Nathaniel came home from France on leave and went to Ireland to collect Richard. They were returning on 10 October 1918 on RMS Leinster, accompanied by Richard’s aunt Elizabeth. None of the three, Lily, Nathaniel or ten year old Richard, survived the sinking and their bodies were never recovered. Their names are recorded on the gravestone of Richard’s grandparents in Dunleckney graveyard in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.