Algie, Robert

Algie, Robert

Able Seaman

No. SS/40, (RFR/CH/B/5311) HMS Hawke, Royal Navy

Killed in action on Thursday 15 October 1914 (aged 29)

Lost at sea; no known grave   


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 1)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for

Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards

Brother of Battery Sergeant Major James Algie


Robert Algie was born on 23 September 1884 in Greencastle, Belfast and he was a son of John Algie (born in Scotland) and Mary Algie (nee Connor, born in Co Down) who were married on 15 April 1870 in Albert Street Presbyterian Church Belfast.  John Algie was a son of James Algie, a block printer.  Mary Connor was a daughter of Robert Connor, a labourer.

The Algie family came originally from Scotland (pre-1870) with a company that was setting up a linen print-works in Newtownards.

The Algie family lived at 31 James Street, Newtownards.

John Algie worked as a print cutter and he and Mary had at least seven children:

James (born around 1871 in Scotland)

Margaret Craig (born 21 February 1874 in Collinwood, Belfast)

Elizabeth (Lizzie, born 27 June 1876 in Dunmurry, Drumbeg)

Mary (Polly, born around 1880 in Scotland)

Ellenore (Nellie, born around 1882 in Scotland)

Robert (born 23 September 1884 in Greencastle, Belfast)

John Craig (born 17 January 1887 in Ballyduff, Belfast)

Their mother Mary died of nephritis on 9 August 1910 in James Street, Newtownards (aged 62).

Their father John died of heart disease on 20 July 1917 in Ann Street, Newtownards (aged 68).

Before the First World War Robert Algie was a Reservist in the Royal Navy (he joined on 16 September 1903 for five + seven years) and he had been at home for about six years when he was called up.

In civilian life he worked as a mechanic for Messrs Freeland & Ferguson in their hem-stitching factory and he and his wife Mary Jane (nee Russell) lived at 124 Greenwell Street, Newtownards.

They were married on 6 December 1911 in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church and they had two children:

Robert (born 24 September 1912 in Ann Street, Newtownards)

Margaret (Maggie, born 23 July 1914 in Ann Street, Newtownards)

Both children were baptised in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.

Robert Algie served aboard HMS Hawke, a Cruiser which was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-9 in the northern waters of the North Sea on the afternoon of 15 October 1914.

The ship sank in a few minutes with the loss of her captain and some 530 officers and men.  Only around 65 officers and men were saved.

On Monday 19 October 1914 Mary Jane Algie received a telegram from the Admiralty informing her that her husband was ‘not amongst those who had been saved’.  This news was made all the more painful because the previous Saturday Mary Jane had received three letters from her husband each stating that he was well.

She was left a widow with two small children, one of them a babe in arms.

On 31 October 1914 Robert’s widow placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle, as did his father and his sisters.

Every year thereafter Mary Jane placed an In Memoriam notice in the Newtownards Chronicle on behalf of herself and her two children.

Other relatives did the same from time to time and these included Robert’s uncle John Russell, his sister and brother-in-law Polly and Hugh Dunlop and his sister Nellie Algie.

Able Seaman Robert Algie was 29 when he died, he has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent; 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.