No. 16412, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 41)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Rifleman Robert Dempster (No. 16412) was born in the townland of Moneyreagh.
Robert Dempster’s age is recorded as 23 on his marriage certificate in 1900 and in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Website his age at death in 1916 is recorded as 35.
Robert Dempster was born on 6 March 1875 in Ballybeen and he was a son of Samuel and Mary Dempster (nee Shaw).
Samuel Dempster worked as a butler, coachman and coachbuilder and he and Mary had at least four children:
Samuel (born 16 January 1873 in Ballybeen)
Robert (born 6 March 1875 in Ballybeen)
Emma (born around 1876/1877 from census information)
Mary Jane (born 5 May 1882 at 11 Blythe Street, Belfast)
Their father Samuel died of pneumonia at 38 Vernon Street, Belfast on 3 February 1890 (aged 59).
Robert Dempster and Mary Cecilia (Minnie) Bell were married on 30 April 1900 in St Stephen’s Parish Church of Ireland Church, Millfield, Belfast. Robert (aged 23) from 38 Vernon Street, Belfast was a son of Samuel Dempster, a coachbuilder. Mary Cecilia Bell (aged 21) from 11 Hopeton Street, Belfast was a daughter of Edward Bell, an engineer.
The Dempster family lived in Belfast, in North Boundary Street, in Killarney Street, in Clements Street, in Israel Street, in Dover Street and in Thorndyke Street.
Robert Dempster worked as a lamplighter, Mary Cecilia Bell worked as a shirt maker and they had at least six children:
William Graham (born 13 October 1900 at 24 Clements Street, Belfast)
Robert (born 11 June 1902 at 11 Killarney Street, Belfast)
Hugh (born 17 April 1904 at 46 North Boundary Street, Belfast)
Edward Norman (born 24 April 1908 at 9A Dover Street, Belfast)
Samuel Henry (born 18 February 1911 at 9A Dover Street, Belfast)
John Bell (born 28 June 1915 at 103 Thorndyke Street, Belfast)
Robert Dempster enlisted in Belfast, served with the 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 109th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and was 41 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France.
When Rifleman Robert Dempster (No. 16412) died on 1 July 1916 his wife and children were living at 22 Dover Street, Belfast and he is commemorated in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 149).