O’Lone MID, Robert James

O’Lone, Robert James (Bob)

Mentioned in Despatches

Captain

2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Thursday 11 November 1915 (aged 31)

Buried:

Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Belgium (Grave I G 14)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

First Newtownards Presbyterian Church

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Holy Trinity Church Twickenham

Dover War Memorial

Brother of Captain Walter Percy O’Lone DCM MID

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt O’Loan.

Robert James O’Lone was born on 9 August 1884 in Belfast and he was a son of Quartermaster-Sergeant John O’Lone who was stationed at Victoria Barracks in Belfast.

John O’Lone was a native of Belfast and he and his wife, Mary O’Lone (nee Spence), lived in Bog Road, Pottinger before they moved to Castleview Road, Knock.

The O’Lone family moved to Victoria Road, Bangor and then to the townland of Loughriscouse between Newtownards and Donaghadee.

John and Mary O’Lone had at least eleven children including:

Henrietta Eleanor (born around 1877/1878 in England)

John Alexander (born around 1879/1880 in England)

Edith Mary (born 9 June 1882 at 18 Hillview Street, Belfast)

Robert James (born 9 August 1884 in Belfast)

Harry Ralph (born 21 June 1886 in Belfast)

Frederick (born 23 April 1888 in Belfast)

Walter Percy (born 19 May 1890 at 9 Court Street, Belfast)

Gertrude Caroline (born 6 June 1893 in County Antrim; married Charles Trotter on 14 January 1920 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church)

In the letters column of the 6 March 1915 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle there was a tribute to Quartermaster-Sergeant John O’Lone who had re-joined the Royal Irish Rifles in October 1914.  At 73 years of age he was still hale and hearty and ‘felt fit for several more years of service’.

Having first enlisted in 1859, Quartermaster-Sergeant John O’Lone had served for 34 years in the Army and saw service in many places including India, China, Japan, South Africa and Mauritius.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.  John O’Lone lived to see two of his soldier sons killed in action in the Great War.  Walter Percy O’Lone was the first of the two O’Lone brothers to die.

Robert James O’Lone enlisted on 29 March 1902.  Like his brother Walter he served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and he won his commission from the ranks.

Robert James O’Lone and Gladys Louise Edwards were married on 22 August 1912 in the Wesleyan Chapel in Dover and they had at least two children – Robert John and Gladys Mary.

Robert John O’Lone served in the Army and rose to the rank of Colonel.  He fought in Burma during the Second World War and was awarded the DSO.  In his turn, Robert John O’Lone’s son, Brigadier Digby O’Lone, also served in the Army.

Captain Robert James O’Lone was killed near Le Bizet at 9.30 pm on 11 November 1915 when he visited a listening post whilst engaged in reconnoitring duty.  Captain O’Lone died soon after being shot in the stomach and his comrades laid him to rest.

Captain Robert James O’Lone was buried in Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Belgium and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

TILL THE DAY BREAKS

AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY

At the time of Robert James O’Lone’s death his wife was living at 11 Grove Avenue, Twickenham, Middlesex.

Captain Robert James O’Lone is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church; in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 514); in Holy Trinity Church, Twickenham (where his wife lived) and on Dover War Memorial.