Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Captain Robert Livsey Yates



Robert Livsey Yates was born in 1877 at Withington, Lancashire, the first of five children of Brazil merchant Michael Lavery Yates and his wife Mary Ann Ellen Yates (née Livsey). Prior to 1901 he moved to Londonderry, working as director of the Adrmore bleachworks. On 9 November 1905 he married Emily Clare (Dolly) Byrne, daughter of Joseph Byrne, FRCSI, DL, in the Roman Catholic chapel, Nazareth House, Londonderry. In September 1908 he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Londonderry.

On 13 May 1905 Yates was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry. He transferred to the newly-formed North Irish Horse in July 1908. On 13 June 1911 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and on 7 June 1914 to captain. In 1912-13 he commanded the regiment’s short-lived machine-gun section.

In November 1914 he was attached to the 11th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, and on 23 October 1915 transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, Special Reserve.

Yates was posted to command an ammunition column of the RFA’s 168 Brigade, which joined the 32nd Division in France in January 1916. However he was soon found to lack the skills necessary to carry out this role and was sent home. He was ordered to report for duty with the North Irish Horse at Antrim, arriving there on 8 May 1916.

Financial problems and persistent health concerns prevented Yates from taking on his duties with the regiment. At the beginning of 1917 he applied for permission to retire. This was refused, but on 4 October 1917 he was permitted to resign his commission due to ill-health.



Yates died in The Rowans, Shortheath, Farnham, Surrey, on 4 January 1919, aged 41. His burial place is presently unknown.

After his death his widow applied for a war service pension, based on a claim that he had died as a result of tuberculosis contracted as a result of his military service. This claim, initially rejected, was accepted on appeal.

Captain Yates was recently accepted as qualifying for commemoration by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. His name is now recorded on the Brookwood 1914-1918 Memorial, Surrey, England.


Yates's brother Charles Cecil Yates also served in the war, as a lieutenant in the 9th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was killed in action in France on 16 May 1916.


Yates as a 2nd Lieutenant with the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry in 1905. Full picture here.