Caption: Photograph of Robert by kind permission of Mr Kevin Welsh
(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal; Belgian Croix de Guerre/ Oorlogskruis
Robert was born in Stalybridge, which was then part of Cheshire. We don't know anything about his early life.
Robert joined the Army in Ashton-under-Lyne in early November 1914. Ashton was the headquarters of the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a Territorial Force unit that had been mobilised and sent to Egypt in September 1914. Soldiers were still being enlisted to serve as reinforcements for it. Robert was given the service number 2855.
The original 9th Battalion (1/9th) landed in Gallipoli in May 1915. The fighting there was extremely fierce and many of its soldiers were killed and wounded. Reinforcements such as Robert were needed and on the 22nd August 1915 he arrived in Gallipoli.
We don't know many details of Robert's time in the Army. We do know that he stayed in the 1/9th Battalion at least until March 1917. In this month soldiers in Territorial Battalions were given new service numbers. The 9th Battalion was allowed to give its soldiers numbers between 350001 and 375000. Robert's new number was 351137.
By this time the Battalion had moved to France after spending 1916 in Egypt. It was renamed the 9th Battalion in February 1918. Robert stayed with it and was promoted to Lance Corporal.
On the 21st March 1918 the German Army launched a huge offensive against the British and French Armies. They hoped to win the war before too many American troops could arrive to fight them. At first the attack was extremely successful. Many Allied units were cut off, and thousands of soldiers were killed or captured. Robert was one of these soldiers. He was killed in action on the 29th March 1918.
After the war Robert's grave could not be found so his name is one of the 14,656 listed on the Pozieres Memorial in France. Robert is on Panel 64 to 67.
Robert was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre medal on the 12th July 1918.