Stewart, Robert

Stewart, Robert


No. 16977, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, discharged medically unfit

Coal Trimmer

Royal Naval Reserve, discharged medically unfit

Died of disease on Monday 16 December 1918 (aged 36)


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. 16977) from Donaghadee who enlisted on 21 September 1914 in Belfast went to Clandeboye Camp the following day.  At attestation, he declared that he was Church of Ireland; he worked as a labourer; he was born in Donaghadee and he was 28 years and one-month old (he was in fact 32 years and 4 months old).

It was noted in his attestation papers that he was 5 feet 6 inches tall with a ruddy complexion, blue eyes and black hair.

Robert Stewart (No.16977) served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles for 45 days before being discharged from the Army on 5 November 1914 as being medically unfit because of a combination of kidney ailments – Bright’s Disease, Polyuria and Albuminuria.

It was noted in Robert Stewart’s military file that his son Thomas was living in Bow Street, Donaghadee ‘c/o Mrs Dempster’.

Robert Stewart was born on 29 April 1882 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee and he was a son of Thomas John and Margaret (Maggie) Stewart (nee Stewart) who were married on 11 November 1873 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).  Thomas John Stewart aged 20 from Greenwell Street, Newtownards was a son of Hugh Stewart, a labourer.  Margaret Stewart aged 21 from Donaghadee was a daughter of James Stewart, a labourer.

The Stewart family lived at 3 Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee.

Thomas John Stewart worked as a labourer, Maggie Stewart worked as an embroiderer and they had at least seven children:

Anne (born 19 August 1874 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Margaret (born 8 October 1879 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Robert (born 29 April 1882 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Esther (born 31 May 1884 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Hugh (born 14 August 1886 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Byers (born 23 April 1889 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Finlay (born 10 September 1891 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

The children were baptised in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.

Their mother, Maggie Stewart, died of gangrene and septicaemia on 8 November 1905.

Byers Stewart and James Dempster were married on 14 March 1910 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral Belfast and they had at least six children:

James (born 23 June 1910 in Meetinghouse Street, Donaghadee)

Hugh (born 22 June 1911 in Meetinghouse Street, Donaghadee; died of enteritis 21 September 1911)

Thomas (born 11 September 1912 in Meetinghouse Street, Donaghadee)

Edward (born 22 November 1913 in Bow Street, Donaghadee)

Samuel (born 7 April 1915 in Bow Street, Donaghadee)

Hugh Stewart (born on 30 April 1919 and baptised in Donaghadee Methodist Church)

Robert Stewart and Lizzie McMahon were married on 1 December 1902 in Newtownards Registrar’s Office and they lived in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee.

Robert Stewart worked as a labourer and he and Lizzie had two children:

Thomas John (born 18 November 1903 in Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee)

Margaret (born 22 February 1905)

After Robert’s wife Lizzie died of tuberculosis in Newtownards Workhouse on 17 July 1907, Robert’s sister Maggie and his widowed father Thomas lived with him at 10 Hunter’s Lane, Donaghadee.  Robert’s sister, Byers Dempster, looked after Robert’s son Thomas John.  Byers Dempster died on 2 April 1937 (aged 47).

Robert Stewart died of chronic Bright’s disease on 16 December 1918 in Bow Street, Donaghadee and on his death certificate it is noted that he had been working in the Royal Naval Reserve as a coal trimmer aboard ‘HMS Deal Castle’.

Desk searches and public appeals to date have not confirmed conclusively whether Private Robert Stewart (No. 16977) who subsequently served with the Royal Naval Reserve and who died of disease on 16 December 1918 is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and/or in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Church.