No. 18/848, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of wounds on Monday 23 October 1916 (aged 25)
City of London Cemetery & Crematorium, Essex (Screen Wall 235. 34A)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
Robert Buckley was born on 20 August 1891 in McConnell’s Row, Comber and he was a son of Samuel and Maria Buckley (nee Milligan, sometimes Milliken) who were married on 22 February 1889 in Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church. Samuel Buckley was a son of Thomas Buckley, a labourer. Maria Milligan from Comber was a daughter of Robert Milligan, a labourer.
Samuel Buckley worked as a labourer and the family lived in McConnell’s Row, Comber.
Robert Buckley was baptised on 14 September 1891 in Dundonald Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Elizabeth’s) and he had an older brother, Samuel McMorran Buckley, who was born on 18 December 1889 in Ballystockart.
In 1901 Robert Buckley, his brother Samuel and their mother Maria lived in Mill Street, Comber. Robert was 13 when his mother Maria died of spinal disease on 31 January 1905 (aged 40) in Newtownards Workhouse.
Robert Buckley worked as a labourer and he and Ellen Jane Strain were married on 4 November 1912 in Newtownards Registry Office.
Robert and Ellen Jane Buckley (nee Strain) were living in the townland of Magherascouse, Ballygowan when their son Robert was born on 14 December 1913. They had two other children:
Agnes (born 29 December 1914 in Newtownards Workhouse Infirmary; died of marasmus 1 May 1915)
Wilhelmina Harvey (born 12 April 1916 in East Street, Newtownards while her father was on active service)
Robert Buckley enlisted in Newtownards and he made his will on 6 March 1916; his property and effects were received by his widow Ellen Jane.
Rifleman Robert Buckley (No. 18/848) served with the 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and he was 25 when he died at Mile End Military Hospital in London as a result of wounds received in action.
Ellen Jane placed a For King and Country notice in the 11 November 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
A loving husband, true and kind,
Missed by those he left behind;
Forget him? No, I never will,
As time rolls on I love him still.
He gave his life for his country,
What more could he do?
Five weeks after Rifleman Robert Buckley died another tragedy befell his family, then living at 43 East Street, Newtownards. On Thursday 30 November 1916 Robert’s three-year-old son, also called Robert, fell backwards into a large pot of boiling water and died two days later. At the time of the accident Ellen Jane Buckley was washing clothes. She took the pot of boiling water off the fire and placed it on the floor beside the fireplace. There was a lid on the pot. Her son Robert was in the kitchen with her and when she turned round to put coal on the fire the child fell backwards onto the lid of the pot which gave way and he fell into the boiling water. Ellen Jane stripped off his clothes and called for a neighbour. Dr Jamison was sent for and he dressed the scalds before an ambulance arrived to take the child to the Infirmary. There the child was examined by Dr Warnock, Medical Officer of the Workhouse, who found scalding on the child’s lower abdomen, between his legs and hips, on the upper part of his thighs and on the lower part of his back. Robert seemed to be holding his own during Thursday and Friday but he died of shock in the early hours of Saturday morning in Newtownards Infirmary. There was a verdict of accidental death.
Rifleman Robert Buckley (No. 18/848) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).