Lance Corporal Robert Horner Close


Robert Horner Close was born on 27 March 1897 at Ballykelly, Lisburn, County Antrim, the last of twelve children of farmer and publican John Close and his wife Harriet (née Horner). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballykelly with his parents, two siblings and two other relatives. He was later employed as a junior clerk in the Lisburn Union Workhouse.

Close enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 11 and 13 November 1915 (No.1852 – later Corps of Hussars No.71592). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

Close was one of ten men of the regiment gassed while on a working party at Ypres on 6 September 1917. He was admitted to the 2nd Australian General Hospital in France.

It is not known whether Close recovered sufficiently to rejoin his regiment at the front later in the war. On 5 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Close farmed at Bunkers Hill, Ballinderry. On 4 August 1920 he married Mary Hill Ross at Dundrod Presbyterian Church, Glenavy, County Antrim. He died at his home, Aghalee House, Aghalee, on 1 March 1944.