Robert had been born at Blythburgh in 1875 the son of William and Sarah on leaving school he found work as a fisherman. From 1897 he began working as a Carman for Great Eastern Railways based at Halesworth station.
At the outbreak of the war he was living with his wife and 3 young daughters at Loam Pit Lane, Holton where on the 1st March 1915 no doubt considering his age of 40 and his previous experience as a fisherman he volunteered to join the Royal Naval Reserve after training he joined the mine-laying Cruiser H.M.S. Iphigenia.
EXCERPTS FROM SHIPS LOG
17.10.1915 Set sail from Sheerness bound for North Russia.
(To serve as a Depot Ship)
03.12.1915 Prepared to sail from Yukanskie bound for Alexandrousk
22.30 hrs Weighed anchor
01.30 hrs Left harbour
08.15 hrs D.H. R. Etheridge lost overboard while in working party
08.15 hrs Stop both engines, switch on search lights for man not able to locate.
Sea too rough to lower boats
08.30 hrs Proceeded on journey