Corry, Robert John (No. 9877)

Corry, Robert John

Ex-Rifleman

No. 9877, 2nd Battalion and Depot, Royal Irish Rifles

Died of disease on Thursday 17 May 1917 (aged 23)

Buried:

Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery, Co. Down (Grave 11. 43)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)

Brother of Rifleman Thomas Corry (No. 4/7253)

BIOGRAPHY

Robert John Corry and his brother Thomas died in service during the First World War.  Their brothers, David and Henry Corry, died in service during the Second World War.  Thus, overall, four Corry brothers died in service in two world wars.

Robert John Corry was born on 14 February 1894 in Upper Movilla Street, Newtownards and he was a son of David and Margaret (Maggie) Corry (nee Irvine) who were married on 14 October 1893 in Regent Street Methodist Church, Newtownards.  David Corry, a weaver from East Street, Newtownards, was a son of Robert Corry, a linen weaver.  Margaret (Maggie) Irvine from Upper Movilla Street, Newtownards was a daughter of Samuel Irvine, a linen weaver.

The Corry family lived at 46 East Street and later at 6 James Street, Newtownards.

David Corry was a linen weaver and he and Maggie had at least nine children:

Robert John (born 14 February 1894 in Upper Movilla Street, Newtownards)

Mary (born 3 September 1895 in East Street, Newtownards)

Thomas (born 1 January 1897 in East Street, Newtownards)

Henry (born 29 January 1899 in East Street, Newtownards)

Annie (born 12 May 1901 in East Street, Newtownards; died of tubercular meningitis 24 May 1908)

William Morris (born 25 June 1902 in East Street, Newtownards)

David (born 17 June 1906 in East Street, Newtownards)

James Irvine (born 8 March 1908 in East Street, Newtownards)

Wyndham Wilson (born 22 February 1914 in East Street, Newtownards)

Before joining the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (No. 6398) on 3 June 1911, Robert John Corry worked as a carter and van driver for John Gowdy, a local grocer.

Rifleman Robert John Corry was transferred to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on 1 January 1912 and it was noted that he was 5 feet 2 inches tall with grey eyes and brown hair.  He had a figure of a rifleman and the letters RIC tattooed on his right forearm.

Rifleman Robert John Corry served in the British Expeditionary Force with ‘D’ Company from 15 August 1914 and on 18 September 1914 he sustained a gunshot wound to his right arm following the First Battle of the Aisne.  He suffered a compound fracture of the humerus which left him ‘permanently unfit for war service’ and he was discharged from the Army on 22 July 1915.  His Silver War Badge (SWB) number was 510768.

Robert John Corry and Elizabeth Graham were married on 13 October 1915 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s) and both of their fathers were soldiers.

On 14 October 1916, Robert John Corry re-enlisted and joined the 3rd Garrison Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (No. 24894).  It was reported that ‘his spirit was willing’ but he was discharged again on 29 December 1916 – owing to the state of his health; he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Robert John Corry worked as a postman and he and Elizabeth had two children both of whom died in infancy.  An unnamed female child born in Windmill Row, Newtownards on 7 May 1916 died of debility the following day.  David was born on 26 February 1917 and he was just a month old when he died of bronchitis on 27 March 1917.

Ex-Rifleman Robert John Corry was 23 when he died of tuberculosis on 17 May 1917 at 12 Windmill Row, Newtownards and the following Saturday he was buried with military honours in Movilla Cemetery.  The band of the 10th Royal Irish Fusiliers played the music and there was a firing party from the 20th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  The Rev. W.L.T. Whatham conducted the service and three volleys were fired over the open grave.  Buglers sounded the Last Post.

Elizabeth Corry lived at 3 Mary Street, Newtownards and she placed an Our Heroes – In Memoriam notice in the 18 May 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle.  It contained the verse:

I have lost my soul’s companion,

A life linked with my own,

One in hope, in love, in feeling,

Death divided – now alone;

At the river’s crystal brink

Christ shall join each broken link.

Robert John’s father, mother, sister and brothers also placed an Our Heroes – in Memoriam notice and it contained the verse:

O, how much we miss his presence,

There is none on earth can tell,

For we knew not till we lost him

That we loved him half so well.

Less than three months after Robert John died his brother Thomas was killed in action.

Robert John’s widow placed an Our Heroes – in Memoriam notice in the 17 May 1919 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

In the morning at the rising of the sun,

And in the evening,

I will remember him.

His father, mother, sister and brothers also placed an Our Heroes – in Memoriam notice in the 17 May 1919 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

Dear is the spot where our dear one is laid,

Sweet is the memory that never shall fade;

Fond is the hope that again we shall meet,

All kneeling together at Jesus’ feet.

Those that think of you tonight

Are those that loved you best.

In March 1930 it was reported in the Newtownards Chronicle that Rifleman Robert John Corry’s Soldier’s Small Book (containing personal, service and other details) had been found near the front-line trenches at St. Symphorien in Belgium and returned to his widow who was living at 3 Mary Street, Newtownards.  It was surmised that the book must have slipped from his top pocket after he was wounded in September 1914.

Rifleman Robert John Corry (No. 9877) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).