Robert Raven was born in about 1851, and ran away to sea at quite any early age, joining the Royal Navy in the rating of Boy.
He served in the Abyssinia campaign as Boy lst Class, in HMS Octavia, and is alleged to have been present at the storming of Magdala. He temporarily deserted to join the Australian gold rush, but was brought back. This escapade eventually affected his pension, and as he is reported by local inhabitants of Southwold (who knew him well) to have been a great beer drinker, it would seem that he never earned a Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.
He probably retired from active service in the Navy in 1899, but was in the Coastguard Service at Southwold for many years. He joined the Southwold Fire Brigade at about the turn of the century, and during the 1914-18 War he ran a carrier's cart to Lowestoft, but apparently there was frequently some doubt as to whether he would make the return trip safely.
He received his bronze NFBU Medal, for 10 years' service, in 1911 (some 2 years late) and his silver medal, for 20 years' service, in 1919, plus a further 5-year bar in 1924. During this time he was also a member of the Southwold Rocket Life-Saving Apparatus team, for which he received the LSM (and which he apparently wore with the Sea Gallantry Medal ribbon!).
Robert Raven died in 1929, aged about 78, and is buried in Southwold churchyard.