Private Robert Burke


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present. It is possible that he was the Robert Burke born on 29 July 1893 at Ballintemple, Newry, County Armagh, the second of eight children of farmer William Burke and his wife Jane (nee Keown or Cowen). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballintemple with his parents and seven siblings and working on the family farm.

Burke enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 23 February and 28 March 1912 (No.687 – later Corps of Hussars No.71072). He embarked for France with A Squadron on 17 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In May 1916 A Squadron came together with D and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Burke remained with the regiment throughout the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium with A Squadron and how much at home at the Antrim depot is not known at present. On 12 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.