Stewart, Robert (No. 8409)

Stewart, Robert

Private

No. 8409, 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Died of wounds on Monday 17 May 1915 (aged 31)

Buried:

Lillers Communal Cemetery, France (Grave III A 41)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

BIOGRAPHY

The name Stewart, R. is inscribed twice on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and the name Robert Stewart is inscribed twice on the war memorial plaque in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.

The name Stewart, R. D. is inscribed once on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and the name Robert D. Stewart is inscribed once on the war memorial plaque in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.

Research has identified four Robert Stewarts with Donaghadee connections who were casualties of the Great War.

Robert Stewart (No. 8409) was born on 31 August 1883 at 139 Conway Street, Belfast and he was a son of William and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Stewart (nee Henry) who were married on 2 May 1869 in Ballymacarrett Parish Church of Ireland Church, Belfast.

The Stewart family lived in Belfast, in Fourth Street and Conway Street, before they moved to Donaghadee where they lived in McConkey’s Court and Hunter’s Lane.

William Stewart worked as a general labourer and he and Lizzie had at least nine children including:

William (born 19 December 1877 at 56 Fourth Street, Belfast)

Eliza (Lizzie born 14 July 1880 at 57 Fourth Street, Belfast)

Robert (born 31 August 1883 at 139 Conway Street, Belfast)

Mary (born 20 March 1886 at 244 Conway Street, Belfast)

Jane (born 16 August 1889 in McConkey’s Court, Donaghadee)

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Robert Stewart (No. 8409) lived in Donaghadee.  He was a Reservist and a member of the local contingent of the Ulster Volunteer Force before he was re-called to the colours.

Private Robert Stewart (No. 8409) served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and he was 31 when he died of wounds on 17 May 1915.  He was buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery, France.  It was Robert’s brother William who received the official notification about his death.  William Stewart, his wife Anna and their children lived at 14 High Street in Donaghadee and, together they ran a fruiterer and florist business in Donaghadee.  Their daughter Flossie married William John Martin on 4 December 1924 in Bangor Abbey and they had two children.  After Flossie Martin died on 28 January 1927 following an accidental domestic gas-cooker explosion, her mother Anna adopted one of her two children – Ronald Victor Joseph Martin who was born on 2 February 1925.  During the Second World War Ronald Martin served with the Royal Corps of Signals and he was 20 when he accidentally drowned on 12 November 1945 in Burma.

Private Robert Stewart’s sister, Lizzie Fitzsimons, lived in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee.  Lizzie Stewart and James Fitzsimons (sometimes Fitzsimmons) were married on 20 December 1905 in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.  James Fitzsimons from Donaghadee was a son of Patrick Fitzsimons, a labourer.

Lizzie Fitzsimons placed a Killed in Action notice in the 26 June 1915 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:

The midnight stars are shining

Upon his silent grave,

The one we loved lies sleeping,

He lies in a hero’s grave.

For ever with the Lord

Desk searches and public appeals to date have not confirmed conclusively whether Private Robert Stewart (No. 8409) is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and/or in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.