Robert Neptune Williams was born in Paradise, Adelaide, South Australia, on the 3rd February 1859, the son of Thomas William and Annie Blood Williams. He was the nephew of Sir Bindon Blood and cousin of General Bindon Blood.
Nothing is known about his early life but in 1893 he married to Edith Eliza Harding in Liverpool. The couple had two children – Gladys and Reginald. In 1915, the family home was at 4, Littledale Road, Egremont, Wallasey, Cheshire.
In the 1901 census, Robert gave his occupation as an ‘African Trader’, but sometime later he joined the British mercantile marine as a waiter in the Stewards’ Department on trans-Atlantic liners.
He engaged as a first class waiter in the Steward's Department on the Lusitania
at Liverpool on 13th April 1915 and joined her on the morning of 17th April 1915, before she left the River Mersey for the last time.
He was killed three weeks later when the ship was sunk, and as his body was not recovered and identified after the sinking, he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing of the Mercantile Marine at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 56 years, although when he signed on for the voyage, he stated that he was aged 50 years!
In August 1915, his widow was given the balance of wages due to him in respect of his sea service on the
Lusitania’s final voyage. This was reckoned to be from 17th April to 8th May 1915, 24 hours after the steamer had gone down. In addition, The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted her a yearly pension that amounted to £29-0s-2d. (£29.01p.) per year, payable at the rate of £7-5s-1d. (£7.25½p.) per quarter.
Australia Birth Index 1788 – 1922, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Liverpool Echo, Wallasey News, UniLiv. PR 13/24, PRO BT 334.