No. 1302489, Pioneer Corps
Accidentally drowned on Thursday 25 December 1941 (aged 41)
Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor, Co. Down (Section 6. P. Grave 21. C)
Robert Conway was born on 3 September 1900 in Castle Mount, Bangor and he was a son of Samuel and Agnes Conway (nee McGuinness, sometimes McGinnes) who were married on 13 July 1891 in First Donaghadee Presbyterian Church. Samuel Conway from Cottown was a son of William Conway, a labourer. Agnes McGuinness (aged 19) from Ballyhay was a daughter of Charles McGuinness, a labourer.
Samuel Conway worked as a general labourer and he and Agnes had at least eleven children:
John (born 30 October 1891 in Ballyvester)
Eliza Jane (born 26 April 1893 in Ballyvester)
Anna Mary (born 11 February 1895 in Mill Row, Bangor)
James Andrew (born 13 September 1896 in Castle Street, Bangor)
William Charles (born 19 July 1898 in Castle Mount, Bangor)
Unnamed male child (born prematurely 24 May 1899 in Castle Mount, Bangor; died of debility 24 May 1899 aged one hour)
Robert (born 3 September 1900 in Castle Mount, Bangor)
Thomas (born 6 March 1902 in Castle Mount, Bangor)
Rachel (born 31 August 1903 in Castle Mount, Bangor)
Samuel (born 25 June 1905 in Castle Mount, Bangor)
David (born 10 March 1907 in Castle Mount, Bangor)
The Conway family later lived at 28 Castle Square, Bangor.
John and Eliza Jane were baptised in First Donaghadee Presbyterian Church, the rest in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor.
Robert Conway worked as a labourer and he and Elizabeth (Lillie) Mahaffy Burns of 12 Main Road, Conlig were married on 29 December 1920 in Conlig Presbyterian Church. Lillie’s brother, Rifleman George Burns (No. 18/551), was killed in action on 1 July 1916 during the Great War.
Robert Conway enlisted after the outbreak of hostilities and during the Second World War he served with the Pioneer Corps in the United Kingdom theatre of war. His wife Lillie was 45 when she died of nephritis on 28 January 1941 in Ards District Hospital and she was buried in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor (Section 6. P. Grave 21. C).
Private Robert Conway (No. 1302489) died on Christmas Day 1941 and the findings of the inquest following his death were reported in the 31 January 1942 edition of the County Down Spectator under the headline Fate of Bangor Soldier. At the inquest the Belfast Coroner, Dr H.P. Lowe, recorded a verdict that death was due to drowning associated with a fracture of the skull accidentally received in the blackout. Robert Conway was described as ‘a widower from Bangor whose body was recovered from the River Lagan on Christmas morning 1941’. It was reported that he left six orphaned children whose ages ranged from six to 20 years.
Private Robert Conway (No. 1302489) was 41 when he died, and he was buried in Bangor Cemetery in the same grave as his wife.