Private Robert Hughes


Robert Hughes was born on 16 March 1895 at Mullans, Ballymoney, County Antrim, the fifth of ten children of grocer (later farmer) John Hughes and his wife Nancy (nee Warnock). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and six siblings at Moneycanon, Dirraw, County Antrim, and working as a farm labourer.

Hughes joined the Royal Irish Constabulary on 1 March 1915 (No.68516) and soon after was stationed in Donegal. On 5 January 1916, however, he enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.2066).

Hughes embarked for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, serving with one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments until September 1917, when the 2nd Regiment was disbanded and most of the men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st Regiment, were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Hughes, like most, was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41216 – and posted to D Company.

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

Hughes was one of the many men of the battalion listed as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21-28 March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive. It was later found, however, that he had been wounded in the left leg. He was evacuated to the UK for treatment and saw no further part in the fighting.

On 27 March 1919 he was discharged as a result of his wounds, being no longer physically fit for military service (Paragraph 392 (xvi) King's Regulations).

In 1920 Hughes emigrated to Canada. He married Ellen Mckinney in Edmonton, Alberta, on 11 January 1922. He died there on 28 March 1945.