(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Robert's early life or family.
He served in the Manchester Regiment during the First World War. His service number was 203617, which suggests he joined the Army between late May and early June 1917. We don't know whether he volunteered for service or was conscripted. Often soldiers would be sent to any unit that needed men and it was not unusual for a man to be assigned to a unit with no connection to his local area.
Robert served in the 1/5th Battalion or the 2/5th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. We don't know which so we can't say for certain where in France and Belgium he served or exactly what he did. Both battalions took part in the Passchendaele Offensive of autumn 1917. The 1/5th helped defeat the German Spring Offensive of March 1918 then took part in the Allied drive to victory during the Hundred Days Offensive. The 2/5th Battalion also fought at Passchendaele. It took heavy casualties in the Spring Offensive and during April it was broken up to help bring other units up to strength. Many of its surviving members were sent to the 1/5th Battalion.
Robert survived the war, but his life afterwards remains a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in August 1997.