McKay, Robert (No. 19107)

McKay, Robert


No. 19107, ‘A’ Company, 13th & 12th Battalions, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Monday 15 April 1918 (aged 34)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium (Panel 138 to 140 & 162 to 162A & 163A)

Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of

Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s)

Family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard

Uncle of Rifleman Robert Regan (No. 19/488)


Robert McKay was born on 4 August 1883 in Greyabbey and he was a son of Robert and Jane McKay (nee Reid) who were married on 7 July 1866 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office.  Robert McKay (aged 24) from Greyabbey was a son of William McKay, a labourer.  Jane Reid (aged 23) from Greyabbey was a daughter of John Reid, a shoemaker.

The McKay family lived in the townland of Kilnatierney, Greyabbey.

Robert McKay Senior (born in Scotland) worked as a farm labourer and weaver and he and Jane had at least nine children:

William Robert (born 2 October 1866 in Greyabbey)

Catherine (born 4 May 1868 in Greyabbey)

John (born 24 October 1869 in Greyabbey)

Grace (born 25 March 1872 in Greyabbey; died 26 December 1872)

Harriet Jane (born 19 October 1874 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

Mary (born 10 June 1877 in Greyabbey)

Grace (born 27 June 1879 in Greyabbey)

Robert (born 4 August 1883 in Greyabbey)

James (born 6 June 1887 in Greyabbey)

Robert McKay Senior died of bronchitis in Kilnatierney on 9 December 1902 (aged 62) and it was noted on his death certificate that he was an army pensioner.  After Robert died, Jane worked as an embroiderer.

Robert McKay Junior lived in Greyabbey where he worked as an agricultural labourer.  He enlisted in Ballywalter and served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.  In November 1917 the 11th and 13th Battalions were amalgamated and when they were disbanded in February 1918 Robert was posted to the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Robert McKay (No. 19107) was 34 when he was killed in action on 15 April 1918 during the German Spring Offensive and he has no known grave.

Rifleman Robert McKay (No. 19107) is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium; on Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s) and on the family grave headstone in Greyabbey Old Graveyard.  Robert’s sister, Harriet Jane McKay, and Thomas Henry Regan were married on 8 January 1897 in Greyabbey Parish Church and their son Robert Regan (Robert McKay’s nephew) was killed in action in the Great War on 1 October 1918 – some six months after his uncle was killed.