No. 18111, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 21)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919 for
Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards
Loughries True Blues Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No.1948
Robert Lowry was born on 28 October 1894 in the townland of Ballymacreely and he was the eldest son of Robert and Mary Elizabeth Lowry (nee McDowell) who were married on 1 December 1893 in Killinchy Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church. Robert Lowry from Ballyminstra was a son of Robert Lowry, a thatcher. Mary Elizabeth McDowell from Ballymacreely was a daughter of James McDowell, a labourer.
The Lowry family lived in the townland of Ballywatticock, Newtownards.
Robert Lowry Senior worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Mary has at least twelve children:
Robert (born 28 October 1894 in Ballymacreely)
William McDowell (born 29 June 1896 in Ballygeegan)
Susanna McDowell (born 28 November 1897 in Magherascouse)
John (born 11 May 1899 in Magherascouse)
Thomas (born 25 October 1900 in Magherascouse)
Mary Elizabeth (born 7 March 1902 in Greengraves)
Samuel (born 21 December 1903)
Jane (born 25 July 1905 in Ballywatticock)
Alexander (born 23 January 1907 in Ballywatticock)
David (born 24 June 1908 in Ballywatticock)
Agnes McKnight (born 25 September 1909 in Ballywatticock)
George (born 24 February 1911 in Ballywatticock)
The four eldest children were baptised in Killinchy Presbyterian Church and the eight youngest in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Robert Lowry Junior worked as an agricultural labourer. He was a member of the Guild and Bible class at Ballyblack Presbyterian Chuch and he was secretary of both Loughries True Blues Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No.1948 and the local contingent of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
As soon as hostilities began Robert enlisted and he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. During the evening before the start of the Battle of the Somme he wrote a letter to his parents. In the letter his main concern was not for what he and his comrades would have to face the following day but rather for those back at home. Rifleman Robert Lowry was posted as missing in action after the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Like every other family that received such news, the Lowry family retained the hope that Robert might have survived. But it was not to be; in February 1917 Robert’s family received the official news that extinguished all hope – ‘missing since first of July 1916, now presumed to have been killed in action, place unknown.’
Robert’s parents, brothers and sisters placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
His warfare o’er, his battle fought,
His victory won, though dearly bought;
Dear is the spot where our loved one is laid,
Dear is the memory that shall never fade.
A little while and we shall meet
The loved one gone before,
And we shall clasp his hands again
On yonder golden shore.
At the time of Robert’s death his brother William was at home having been wounded whilst on active service with the 9th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Rifleman Robert Lowry was 21 when he died and he has no known grave. He is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in the PCI Roll of Honour for Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards and in Loughries True Blues Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No.1948.
Rifleman Robert Lowry’s family placed and In Memoriam notice in the 7 July 1917 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
For King and country well he stood,
Unknown to coward’s fears;
In battle’s strife, he shed his blood
With the Ulster Volunteers.
In the bloom of life death claimed him,
In the pride of his manhood days;
None knew him but to love him,
None mentioned his name but with praise.
Rifleman Robert Lowry’s family placed and In Memoriam notice in the 6 July 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
Short was thy life, our darling son,
But peaceful be thy rest;
Mother misses you most of all,
Because she loved you best.
Far away from all who loved him
Soldiers gently laid him to rest,
In a hero’s grave he lies sleeping –
One of God’s brightest and best.