Close, Robert

Close, Robert

Acting Sergeant

No. 63442, 3rd Battalion, Royal Defence Corps

Died of disease on Tuesday 12 March 1918 (aged 27)


Kircubbin Presbyterian Church Graveyard


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

United Kingdom Book of Remembrance

Kircubbin Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity)


The name Robert Close is listed on the Memorial Plaque in Kircubbin Parish Church of Ireland Church (Holy Trinity) as having died on active service; his name has recently been added to the CWGC Debt of Honour database (2022).

Robert Close was born on 29 March 1890 in Portaferry and he was a son of Andrew and Elizabeth (Eliza) Close (nee Bowen) who were married on 28 February 1888 in Ardquin Parish Church of Ireland Church Portaferry.  Andrew Close, a car man from Kircubbin, was a son of Robert Close, a labourer/sexton.  Eliza Bowen from Ballyridley, Portaferry was a daughter of John Bowen, a labourer.

Andrew Close worked as a car man (1888), labourer (1899), coachman (1901), storeman (1917) and sexton (1922).  Andrew and Eliza Close (nee Bowen) had five children, all of whom were born in Portaferry:

John (born 7 August 1888; died of tuberculosis 7 March 1898)

Robert (born 29 March 1890)

Sarah Elizabeth (born 27 November 1892; married Thomas Dempster, a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, on 16 August 1922 in St Andrew’s Church of Ireland Church Innishargie)

Annie (born 24 May 1895; died from congestion of the lungs 8 March 1897)

Annie (born 21 August 1898; died of gastritis 10 September 1898)

Their mother, Elizabeth Close (nee Bowen), died of tuberculosis in Portaferry on 10 October 1898 (aged 33); her husband Andrew was with her when she died.

Andrew Close and Eliza (Lizzie) Dempster were married on 21 December 1899 in Ballyphilip Church of Ireland Church Portaferry.  Eliza Dempster, a domestic servant from Portaferry, was a daughter of John Dempster, a labourer.

In 1901 the Close family was living in Church Street, Portaferry.  In 1911 Andrew, Eliza and Sarah Close were living in ‘Back of Green’, Kircubbin; Robert was working as a tailor in Holywood.

Robert Close was a master tailor living at 33 Falkner Street, Liverpool when he enlisted on 12 December 1915.  His apparent age was 25 years 8 months, he was 5 feet 7¾ inches tall and he had a scar on one of his buttocks.  He had a sallow complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair and he cited his father Andrew as his next-of-kin.

Attested on 12 December 1915, Robert Close went to the Army Reserve, was mobilised on 9 February 1916, and was appointed to the King’s Liverpool Regiment.  On 1 September 1917 he was transferred to the Royal Defence Corps.

Robert Close and Selina McCully were married on 16 March 1917 in First Holywood Presbyterian Church.  Robert Close, then stationed at Pembroke Docks in Wales, was a son of Andrew Close, a storeman.  Selina McCully, a tailoress from Stewart’s Place, Holywood was a daughter of Robert McCully, a farmer.

Acting Sergeant Robert Close (No. 63442) was discharged from the Army on 22 January 1918 because he was deemed to be physically unfit.  Examined by a Medical Board on 1 January 1918, the Board concluded that he had tuberculosis, which was ‘not the result of but had been aggravated by military service’.  His condition was permanent, his disablement was total for six months and he needed out-patient treatment in a sanatorium.  His Silver War Badge number was 476397.

Robert Close died of tuberculosis in Kircubbin on 12 March 1918 (aged 27) and his father Andrew was with him when he died.

Robert Close’s stepmother Elizabeth died of pneumonia on 7 July 1919 and, according to Church of Ireland Burial Records, was buried in Meeting House Green Kircubbin (the Presbyterian Church Graveyard).  Her stepdaughter, Sarah E. Close, was with her when he died.

Robert Close’s father Andrew died of myocardial degeneration on 23 February 1926.  His daughter, Sarah E. Dempster, was with him when he died.

Robert Close’s wife Selina married David Woodside Crawford, a tailor from Larne, on 14 September 1927 in First Holywood Presbyterian Church

The Close family headstone in Kircubbin Presbyterian Graveyard is now severely worn in parts but, from official records, it is possible to deduce the unreadable dates:

Erected by Ann Close of Tubber na Carrig …….

Beloved husband Robert Close died 11 December 1878 age 52 years.

Also her son James Close died 9 March 1901

Also the above Ann Close died 25 May 1907 age 81 years and Andrew Close died 23 February 1926.

Also Robert Close who died 12 March 1918 aged 28 years.

Elizabeth Close was also buried in this graveyard but her name was not included on this headstone; the headstone must have been inscribed after Andrew died in 1926.

Robert Close who died on 11 December 1878 was Andrew Close’s father; Robert Close and Anne (Ann) Parke were married on 2 September 1848 in Second Ballywalter Presbyterian Church and they had seven children.

James Close who died on 9 March 1901 was Andrew Close’s brother; his sister Annabella Stevenson was with him when he died; Annabella Close and Robert Stevenson, a farmer, were married on 10 December 1897 in Greyabbey Presbyterian Church.

Anne (Ann) Close who died on 25 May 1907 was Andrew Close’s mother; her daughter Annabella Stevenson was with her when she died.