In memoriam

Private Robert William Kerr

 

 

Robert William Kerr was born (as William John Kerr) at Beagh Little, Inishmacsaint, County Fermanagh, on 5 September 1888, the first of four children of farmer William John Kerr and his wife Catherine (nee Kerr). His mother died when he was young and in 1901 his father married Sarah Jane Cathcart. By 1911 he was living with his father and stepmother at Beag Little and helping work the family farm.

Kerr enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 10 November 1914 (No.175). He embarked for France on 3 October 1915 with divisional headquarters for the 36th (Ulster) Division, one of around thirty men of the squadron assigned as batmen to senior officers of the division. Kerr was assigned to the 1/3 London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

In September 1917 he was attached to No.4 Company, 56th Divisional Train, Army Service Corps.

On 1 January 1918 he was transferred to the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (No.41696), joining other members of the Inniskillings squadron which had been dismounted and absorbed into the battalion in September 1917. Kerr was posted to B Company.

On 23 March 1918 he was captured near St Quentin during of the German Spring Offensive.

Held at various prisoner of war camps during 1918, including at Darmstadt and Gustrow, Kerr died of heart disease and inflammation of the lungs in a hospital at Hamburg on 4 December 1918.

He is buried at Hamburg Cemetery, grave I.D.8. His gravestone inscription reads:

41696 PRIVATE
R. W. KERR
ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS
4TH DECEMBER 1918 AGE 30

 

Private Kerr's younger brother Thomas Edward served in the 11th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed in action on the Somme on 1 July 1916.

 

 

Images kindly provided by Paul Ormerod.