Moreland, Robert (No. 628956)

Moreland, Robert (Bob)


No. 628956, Canadian Infantry, Canadian Expeditionary Force

Died of disease on Wednesday 28 January 1920 (aged 34, according to family records)




Robert Moreland was born on 25 August 1885 in the townland of Ballyridley, Portaferry (he declared 30 August 1885 at attestation) and he was a son of Samuel and Mary Ann Moreland (nee Donaldson) who were married on 25 November 1875 in Cloughey Presbyterian Church.  Samuel Morelnad (aged 27), a coachman from Portaferry, was a son of James Moreland, a labourer.  Mary Ann Donaldson (aged 20) from Bishopmill was a daughter of Andrew Donaldson, a tailor.

The Moreland family lived in the townland of Corrog, Portaferry.

Samuel Moreland worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Mary Ann had at least nine children:

Mary Jane (born 28 December 1876 in Portaferry)

Andrew (born 9 July 1883 in Ballyridley)

Robert (born 25 August 1885 in Ballyridley)

Sarah (born 28 February 1887 in Corrog)

Thomas (born 31 March 1889 in Corrog)

John (born 6 July 1891 in Corrog)

David (born 28 April 1894 in Corrog)



Like their father before them, Robert, Thomas, James and David Moreland worked as agricultural labourers.

In 1901 Andrew was working as a tailor with David Donaldson, a draper, in Market Square, Portaferry.  Andrew was lodging with David Donaldson and his family.

In 1911 Mary Jane (an embroidress), Andrew (a tailor) and Thomas (an agricultural labourer) were living at 346 Beersbridge Road, Belfast with their mother’s unmarried sister, Sarah Donaldson.

In 1911 John and David were working as farm servants for, and lodging with, William Savage, who farmed in the townland of Marlfield, Portaferry.

In 1911 Robert was working as a farm servant for, and lodging with, Mrs Lizzie Wilson, a widow who farmed in the townland of Ballybranigan, Portaferry.

Aged 27, Robert Moreland moved to Canada with his brother Thomas and they arrived at Quebec aboard the SS Letitia on 18 May 1913.

Robert Moreland enlisted at Vernon, British Columbia on 12 June 1915 and in his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall with a fair complexion, grey eyes and fair hair.  He declared his occupation to be a farmer and he cited his father Samuel as his next-of-kin.  He also declared that he was a member of the Active Militia, his unit being the 104th Regiment Westminster Fusiliers of Canada.

Private Robert Moreland (No. 628956) sustained a severe gunshot wound to his thigh on 26 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme.  The wound turned septic and required a surgical operation.  On 7 October 1916 he was admitted to hospital in Etaples and he was discharged from hospital on 6 April 1917.  On 29 September 1917 he married Agnes Beck (daughter of Hugh Beck, a carpenter) in Portaferry Presbyterian Church and the following day, 30 September 1917 he went to France.  He was wounded again in January 1918, admitted to hospital and discharged in May 1918.  Private Robert Moreland (No. 628956) returned to Canada and was discharged from service at Vancouver on 18 July 1918 ‘in consequence of having become medically unfit for further service overseas by reason of wounds incurred on active service’.  Family records have 28 January 1920 as his date of death from fever; Army records include a reference to his death ‘not due to service’ annotated with the date 27 February 1922. He was buried in Canada.

Robert’s widow, Agnes, worked for many years in Portaferry Post Office and after she died in 1965 she was buried in Ballymanish Cemetery, Portaferry.

Robert’s brother Andrew also served during the Great War.  He served as a Rifleman (No. 8/13293) with the 8th Service Battalion (East Belfast) Royal Irish Rifles.  He went to France on 5 October 1915 and on 7 June 1917 he suffered a gunshot wound to his left foot.  This left him with a permanent limp.  After the war he worked as a tailor for the Belfast Co-Operative Society and he and his wife Elizabeth lived in Belfast.  Andrew died on 9 December 1943 (aged 60), Elizabeth died on 2 February 1965 (aged 77) and both were buried in Ballymanish Cemetery, Portaferry.

Robert’s brother David also served during the Great War.  He served as a Stoker Second Class (No. K27441) in the Royal Navy.  He joined the Royal Navy at Chatham on 16 July 1915 and it is recorded that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.  He had a scar on the back of his wrist.  He received initial training at Pembroke II (the shore installation at Chatham) and then served on a series of ships including HMS Iphigenia, HMS Attractive II, HMS Columbine and HMS Sandhurst.  He left the Navy on 20 August 1919 and returned to Portaferry.  On 6 April 1920 he married Ethel Watterson in Cloughey Presbyterian Church and they had a daughter, Annie.  For many years David worked as a light-keeper on board the Skulmartin Lightship off Ballywalter.  David died on 9 July 1968 (aged 72), Ethel having died on 11 December 1964 (aged 68).  Both were buried in Ballymanish Cemetery, Portaferry.

Robert’s father, Samuel Moreland Senior, died on 22 May 1932 (aged 72) and his mother, Mary Ann, died on 11 December 1937 (aged 82).