Private Robert John Edwards


Robert John Edwards was born on 19 July 1897 at Kilbogget, Rathdown, County Dublin, the fifth of six children of gardener (later coachman and domestic servant) Thomas Edwards and his wife Mary (née Baker). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Ballintemple, County Cork, with his parents and three of his siblings.

Edwards enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 20 and 23 November 1915 (No.1946). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Edwards, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Edwards was issued regimental number 41310 and posted to C Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Edwards was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later reported that he had been wounded, though whether this took place during the retreat in March, or in the fighting on the Ypres front in April, is not known at present.

He rejoined the battalion later that year, and was wounded again during the Advance to Victory offensive, probably in September or October.

Edwards was discharged on 27 February 1919. He was awarded a pension due to his wounds, his level of disability assessed at 50 per cent in January 1920.

At some point after the war Edwards moved to England, settling in Meriden, Warwickshire. In 1927 he married Frances Mary Packwood. He died in 1963 in Coleshill, Warwickshire.