Kyle, Robert Ernest (Robert)
SS Texan (Glasgow), Merchant Navy
Accidentally drowned on Saturday 17 February 1945 (aged 37)
Ardrossan Garden of Remembrance
Family grave headstone in Ardrossan Cemetery
There was a Died on Active Service notice in the 3 March 1945 edition of the County Down Spectator indicating that Robert E. Kyle had been lost at sea on 18 February 1945. His date of death is recorded in the Register of Deceased Seamen as 17 February 1945.
Robert Ernest Kyle was born on 2 September 1907 in Cloughey and he was a son of William and Sarah Kyle (nee McCappin) who lived at Calhame in Cloughey, Co. Down. Robert Ernest’s grandfather, Robert Kyle, farmed in the townland of Ballygelagh and Robert Ernest’s father, William Kyle, was a seaman. William Kyle’s shore address was 13 Bank Road, Bootle when he and Sarah McCappin from Cloughey were married on 16 September 1896 in St. Mary’s Church, Bootle.
While William Kyle was at sea Sarah lived in Cloughey where she worked as a seamstress. William and Sarah Kyle had at least six children:
Annie (born 28 February 1897 in Cloughey)
Ellen (born 30 January 1900 in Cloughey)
William (born 12 January 1903 in Cloughey)
David (born 2 September 1905 in Cloughey)
Robert Ernest (born 2 September 1907 in Cloughey)
Thomas (born 24 April 1909 in Cloughey)
After he retired from the sea, Robert Ernest Kyle’s father William farmed, and he died on 20 March 1933 at Newtownards Union Infirmary. He was buried in Ardkeen (Christ Church) Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard. William’s effects amounted to some £66 and probate was granted to his widow Sarah. Sarah Kyle died on 25 December 1946 and she was buried alongside her husband.
Like his father, Robert Ernest Kyle was a seaman and he and Mary Thornton were married on 7 September 1934 in the Barony Church of Scotland, Ardrossan in Ayrshire. They lived at 6 McDowall Avenue, Ardrossan. During the Second World War Robert Ernest Kyle served with the Merchant Navy and attained the rank of Master. In the Register of Deceased Seamen, it is recorded that he drowned in the River Clyde at Renfrew when he was Master of the SS Texan. The SS Texan was a lighter (a type of flat-bottomed barge used to transport goods and passengers from moored ships). She was built in 1937 by J. and J. Hay, Kirkintilloch and scrapped in 1964. On his death certificate it is recorded that ‘on 17 February 1945 he was immersed in water in the River Clyde and his body was found at 6.30 pm on 12 March in Rothesay Dock, Clydebank’.
Captain Robert Ernest Kyle is commemorated on the Second World War Memorial Plaque in the Ardrossan Garden of Remembrance and on the family grave headstone in Ardrossan Cemetery. His wife Mary died on 21 January 1996 (aged 85) and she was buried beside her husband. There is an inscription on their headstone:
Until we meet again