Suffern, Robert

Suffern, Robert


SS Teelin Head, Mercantile Marine

Died as a result of enemy action on Monday 21 January 1918 (aged 56)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England

Holywood and District War Memorial

Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James)


Robert Suffern was born around 1861/1862 and he was a son of Robert and Mary Suffern (nee Clarke) who were married on 10 January 1850 in College Square Presbyterian Church Belfast.  The Suffern family lived at Balmoral, Belfast and they had at least eight children:



Ella Musgrave Thompson (born 3 April 1864)

Frederick (born 27 November 1865)

Mary Robina (born 10 February 1868)

Sydney (born 5 April 1869)

Isabella Clarke (born 15 March 1870)

Herbert Clarke (born 26 June 1871 in Ballystrudder, Islandmagee)

Robert Suffern joined the Merchant Service in 1877 and he was the husband of Elizabeth Eleanor Suffern (nee Robinson).

Robert Suffern and Elizabeth Eleanor Robinson were married around 1894/1895 in Cardiff, Wales and they lived in Belfast in Glandore Avenue, Lansdowne Road and Innisfayle Road, Duncairn.  They also lived at Martello in Holywood.

Robert and Elizabeth Suffern had at least six children:

Kathleen Esther (born around 1896/1897 in Wales)

Robert William Thistle (Roy, born 16 August 1902 at 4 Glandore Avenue, Belfast)

Ronald Neville (born 4 April 1904 in Lansdowne Road, Belfast; died of whooping cough 16 August 1904)

Louis (born 16 May 1905 at Blythswood, Lansdowne Road, Belfast)

John Aubrey (born 2 July 1907 in Lansdowne Road, Belfast)

Rolf Philip (born 26 May 1909 in Innisfayle Road, Duncairn, Belfast)

Captain Robert Suffern was drowned when the SS Teelin Head was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-31 in the English Channel on 21 January 1918.

The SS Teelin Head was carrying a cargo of potatoes out of Belfast and thirteen lives were lost.

The SS Teelin Head was built in 1883 by Workman, Clark & Co, Belfast and was one of the Head Line boats operated by the Ulster Steamship Co Ltd (G Heyn & Sons), Belfast.

Captain Robert Suffern is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Holywood and District War Memorial and in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip & St James).