People on board
BLACK, Roy Ernest
Roy Ernest Black was born in Newmarket, Cambridgeshire/Suffolk in 1892 to Herbert Black and Sarah Hammond, the third of their six children. Herbert, a Printer Compositor, and Sarah were both born in Yorkshire and their first two children were born there. They then moved to the village of Exning, outside Newmarket. Their youngest son, Maurice, was born in 1901 and Sarah died the following year, aged thirty-six.
It is not clear what happened to the family in the following years. Herbert may have remarried in 1905 but he has not been found in the 1911 census. By that year the family was completely split up; the eldest, Wilfred, was married and living in Coventry, the next, Hubert, the only one to remain in Exning, was working as a photographer, Leslie was a Farm Labourer in Newmarket and the two youngest, Reginald and Maurice, were boarding in Burwell, near Newmarket, while at school. Meanwhile Roy was living with his aunt Alice Hammond in Waddington, Lancashire, and working as a Cotton Weaver.
In March 1916 Roy Black enlisted in the R.A.M.C. at Keighley, Yorkshire but he was not called up for service until December of that year. He named Alice Hammond as his next-of-kin. Giving ‘Gardener’ as his occupation on his enlistment papers, and classed as Private, his role would have been as an orderly, cook or stretcher bearer. In December he was posted to ‘Y’ Company and then transferred to the 311th Field Ambulance in January. This was a Home Service unit where he would have worked in one of the many military hospitals in the U.K.
From the 23rd of August to the 3rd of September 1918 he was at the Training Battalion in Blackpool and he was then posted to the 326th Field Ambulance in Athlone, Co Westmeath. He was presumably returning to England on leave when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October along with seventeen other RAMC men. He did not survive the sinking, nor was his body recovered. His name is recorded on the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton. His father Herbert, then living in Woodbridge, Suffolk, was named as the recipient of Roy’s belongings.