No. 18711, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of disease on Monday 24 November 1924 (aged 33)
Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards (Grave 1.93)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
The name Robert Russell is listed on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in the booklet produced for the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday 26 May 1934 he is described as a Rifleman in the Royal Irish Rifles. The organising committee of the day decided to include the names of ex-servicemen who died up to that date from what they considered to be war related causes, whether as a result of wounds or disease.
Army pensioner, Robert Russell, died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 24 November 1924 at 52 Frederick Street, Newtownards and was buried in Movilla New Cemetery, Newtownards (Grave 1.93). His wife, Jane Russell, was with him when he died.
Robert Russell and Jane Kerr were married on 4 November 1919 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). Robert Russell (full age) from Newtownards gave Thomas Russell as his father’s name. Jane Kerr (aged 20) from Newtownards gave no father’s name.
In the 1911 census, Robert Russell (aged 19) was living at 174B Greenwell Street, Newtownards with his single mother, Margaret (Maggie) Russell, his brother James (aged 36) and his sisters Maggie (aged 27) and Mary Jane (aged 24).
Robert Armstrong Russell was born on 28 May 1891 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards and he was a son of Margaret (Maggie) Russell. Maggie Russell had at least four children:
James (born around 1874/1875 in County Down)
Margaret (Maggie, born 2 February 1883 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Mary Jane (born around 1884/1885 in County Down)
Robert Armstrong (born 28 May 1891 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Robert Armstrong Russell worked as a weaver and he was a member of ‘A’ Company of the Newtownards contingent of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
Robert Russell enlisted on 17 September 1914 in Newtownards and he joined up for the duration of the war. It was noted in his attestation papers that he was 23 years 4 months old, 6 feet tall and he had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and fair hair. At Clandeboye Camp he was pronounced fit to serve.
Private Robert Russell (No. 18711), 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles was discharged from the Army on 12 December 1914 after 87 days of service. The reason given was that ‘he was not likely to become an efficient soldier’ – under Para. 392 (iii) (c) KR. He was suffering from varicose veins and had declined the opportunity to have an operation. He was granted a gratuity of 7 pounds 10 shillings and a weekly pension of 7 shillings and 2 pence. His address on discharge was 174B Greenwell Street, Newtownards and it was noted that his next-of-kin was his mother Maggie.
Ex-Rifleman Robert Russell (No. 18711) was 33 when he died on 24 November 1924 and he is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial.