No. 13/343, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 23)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards
Robert McCartney was born around 1892/1893 in Glasgow and he was the eldest son of William John and Mary McCartney (nee Lindsay) who were married on 1 January 1890 in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church. William John McCartney from Newtownards was a son of Robert McCartney, a weaver. Mary Lindsay from Newtownards was a daughter of John Lindsay, a weaver.
The McCartney family lived in Donaghadee Road, Newtownards when they returned from Scotland after their first two children were born.
William John McCartney worked as a wool weaver and he and Mary had eleven children:
Elizabeth (born around 1890/1891 in Glasgow)
Robert (born around 1892/1893 in Glasgow)
James (born 25 August 1895 in Front Shuttlefield, Newtownards; died 23 July 1896)
Mary (born 12 May 1897 in McAlpine’s Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
James (born 26 April 1899 in McAlpine’s Row, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
Male child (born prematurely 4 October 1900 in Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards; died the same day, aged five minutes)
Jane (born 18 July 1902 in Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
William (born 28 December 1903 in Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
John Lindsay (born 16 February 1905 in Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
Ethelind (born 13 November 1906 in Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
Eleanor (born 31 August 1911 in Kimberley Buildings, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards)
James, Jane, William, John Lindsay, Ethel and Eleanor were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
Like his father, William John, Robert McCartney worked as a wool weaver and he and Susanna Dorrian were married on 29 January 1915 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). Robert McCartney (aged 22) was a Private (No. 343) in the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles stationed at Clandeboye. Susanna Dorrian (aged 21) from Talbot Street, Newtownards was a daughter of William John Dorrian, a labourer. Susanna and their son Robert, who was born on 26 June 1915 and baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, lived at 4 Talbot Street, Newtownards with Susanna’s parents William John and Ellen Dorrian.
Robert McCartney enlisted in Belfast, he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 23 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially he was posted as missing in action and in June 1917 it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed. Susanna placed a For King and Country notice in the 9 June 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
One by one the links are slipping,
One by one our heroes fall;
And you, my darling husband,
Have answered the great Roll Call.
Robert’s father, mother, brother and sisters also placed a For King and Country notice and it contained the verse:
No mother’s care did him attend,
Nor o’er him did a father bend;
No sisters by to shed a tear,
No brother by his words to hear.
Sick, dying in a foreign land,
No father by to take his hand;
No mother near to close his eyes,
Far from his native land he lies.
If the grave should open
What changes you would see,
But the Lord knew best
To take you home to rest.
Three Newtownards families related by marriage suffered bereavement during the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme when four men who are being commemorated on this website died:
- James Dorrian (No. 16420)
- His sister Susanna’s husband Robert McCartney (No. 13/343)
- His sister Jane’s husband Edward McAvoy (No. 18125)
- Edward’s brother John McAvoy (No. 18183)
Three women living at 4 Talbot Street in 1916 were widowed – James Dorrian’s wife Jane (nee Oliver), Robert McCartney’s wife Susanna (nee Dorrian) and Edward McAvoy’s wife Jane (nee Dorrian).
Rifleman Robert McCartney (No. 13/343) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.