No. 19/488, ‘C’ Company, 12th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Tuesday 1 October 1918 (aged 19)
Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Belgium (Grave II. C. 20)
Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of
Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s)
Robert Regan was born on 11 November 1898 in the townland of Gordonall, Greyabbey and he was the eldest son of Thomas Henry and Harriet Jane Regan (nee McKay) who were married on 8 January 1897 in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s).
The Regan family lived in the townlands of Gordonall and Bootown, Greyabbey.
Thomas Henry Regan worked as an agricultural labourer and he and Harriet had at least five children:
Robert (born 11 November 1898 in Gordonall)
Frederick (Fred, born 13 February 1900)
Edward (born 14 February 1902 in Greyabbey)
Ernest (born 11 April 1904 in Greyabbey)
John (born 31 December 1911 in Bootown)
Frederick, Ernest and John Regan were baptised in Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Saviour’s).
On 23 May 1916 Robert Regan enlisted in Newtownards and joined the Young Citizens’ Volunteers. He spent three months training in Donard Camp, Newcastle before proceeding to France. He returned to Ireland for a time before going back to France on 29 March 1918. Shortly afterwards he was wounded in the leg and spent time in an Australian field hospital before returning to the front line.
The last letter that he wrote to his father arrived on 3 October 1918 and in it he expressed the hope that he would soon be home again. By then Robert Regan was already dead but his family did not know it. On 24 October 1918 his family received official notification that Robert had been killed in action on 1 October 1918 during the Allied offensive against all sections of the German line.
In a letter to Robert’s mother the Rev Hubert Orr said that Robert’s Company had been ordered to attack a position which was strongly held by the enemy. In the advance Robert was hit in the chest by machine-gun fire and death was instantaneous.
Rifleman Robert Regan (No. 19/488) was 19 when he died and he was buried in Dadizeele New British Cemetery, Belgium. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
FOR EVER WITH THE LORD
Robert’s father, mother and brothers placed a death notice in the 9 November 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
In the bloom of life death claimed him,
In the pride of his manhood days,
Somewhere in France, we cannot tell,
The spot in which our dear son fell.
Rifleman Robert Regan (No. 19/488) is commemorated on Greyabbey and District War Memorial located on the outside wall of Greyabbey Parish Church of Ireland (St Saviour’s). Less than six months before Robert Regan died, his uncle Rifleman Robert McKay (his mother’s brother) was killed in action on 15 April 1918.
Rifleman Robert Regan’s father, Thomas Henry Regan, died on 23 December 1930 (aged 54) and his mother, Harriett, died on 27 July 1947 (aged 74).