Lance Corporal Robert Burnett


Robert Burnett was born on 17 March 1891 at Ballylummin, Ahoghill, County Antrim, the first of two children of farmer William John Burnett and his wife Annie Bell Burnett (nee Weir). After the death of their mother in 1893, Robert and his brother Nathaniel were raised by their uncle and aunt, stonemason Hugh Stone and his wife Sarah at Kilcurry, Portglenone, County Antrim. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living at Kilcurry with their aunt, uncle and a cousin, Robert working as a clerk in a union office.

Burnett enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 11 and 30 December 1914 (No.1358 – later Corps of Hussars No.71350).

In the first half of 1915 he embarked for England with F Squadron, where they awaited orders for France. On 12 July, however, Burnett was one of about two dozen men of the squadron who volunteered for service as Military Mounted Police with the 54th (East Anglian) Division, which was under orders to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. They sailed from Devonport on HMT Manitou on 29 July 1915, joining the landing at Suvla Bay between 10 and 16 August.

At the end of the year the campaign at Gallipoli was abandoned, the men of the North Irish Horse leaving in December. They arrived in Egypt the following month, where a number of them, including Burnett, remained for the duration of the war, continuing with their Military Mounted Police duties.

Burnett was formally transferred to the Military Mounted Police in June 1918 (No. P/14889) – with effect from 30 August 1917.

On 26 July 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.


Ballymena Weekly Telegraph, 15 January 1916