hartlepool history logo

Roll of Honour

Hartlepool seafarers lost at sea

Smith, Robert William

20, Sarah Street, West Hartlepool
Thornaby/ Stockton

Robert William Smith was one of the 12 children on Hugh Smith, originally from York, and his wife Mary Hannah nee James who was born in Stranton. The couple were married in Hartlepool in 1875 and Hugh was a labourer in the ironworks. Their 12 children were born in either Hartlepool or South Stockton (Thornaby) and although naval records give Robert's birthplace as Hartlepool,the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns give it as Stockton.

In 1881, the family were at Hill St Longhill, West Hartlepool, 1891 they  were at Seaton Brickworks and in 1901 in Sarah Street. One family member was Israel Boswell who was 64 and given as father in law of Hugh. This is probably incorrect, as this gentleman seems to also go under the name of Smith in a number of documents and Mary Hannah's maiden name was James. Israel appears to have had children named Boswell and Smith, one of whom was a Riley Smith and Riley is also the name given to Robert Smith's oldest brother.

In 1911, when the Smith family were still in Sarah Street, an amazing 12 people are listed as living in the 3 roomed property, these being some of the surviving 12 children and also their offspring.

Robert William was lost on HMS Hawke which was on blockade duty between the Shetlands and Norway when it was hit by a single torpedo from the German submarine U9. He was among the 524 casualties and his mother  Mary Hannah Smith of 20, Sarah Street, West Hartlepool was informed.