Pyper, Robert James (No. 16948)

Pyper, Robert James


No. 16948, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, then

11th/13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, then

22nd Entrenching Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action on Sunday 31 March 1918 (aged 24)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Pozieres Memorial, France (Panel 74 to 76)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Brother of Rifleman David Pyper (No. 18/1121)


Robert James Pyper was born on 1 December 1893 in the townland of Glastry and he was a son of Margaret (Maggie) Pyper.  Maggie Pyper worked as a servant, a washerwoman and a charwoman and she had at least eight children:

Robert James (born 1 December 1893 in Glastry)

David (born 8 April 1897 in the Workhouse, Newtownards)

Minnie (born 7 December 1901 in the Workhouse, Newtownards)

Sarah (born 17 April 1905 in the Workhouse, Newtownards)

John (born 7 February 1907 in the Workhouse, Newtownards)

Adam (born 12 July 1910 in Ballyeasborough)

Liza Jane (born 18 November 1912 in Ballyeasborough)

Maggie (born 11 May 1915 in Ballyeasborough)

The Pyper family lived in Glastry; in Newtownards Workhouse and in Ballyeasborough.

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Robert James Pyper worked as a farm servant.

When he enlisted in Belfast he joined the 1st County Down Volunteers 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 Royal Irish Rifles were amalgamated and when they were disbanded in February 1918 Robert James was transferred to the 22nd Entrenching Battalion.

Rifleman Robert James Pyper (No. 16948) was 24 when he was killed in action in France on 31 March 1918 and, after he died, his mother placed a For King and Country notice in the Newtownards Chronicle.  It contained the verse:

The news was sad, the blow was hard,

God’s will, it shall be done;

With a manly heart he did his part,

My dearly-beloved son.

Rifleman Robert James Pyper and Rifleman David Pyper are both commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.  Their names were added later at the end of the alphabetical list of names.