Sergeant Robert Kane Fraser


Robert Kane Fraser was born on 11 December 1884, the first of at least six children of Royal Artillery battery sergeant-major John Fraser and his wife Margaret (née Kane). His father retired from the army in 1889 after 21 years' service.

Fraser enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 1 or 2 September 1914 (No.1080). He may have had previous military experience, because he was soon after promoted to NCO rank. On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

On 4 September 1915 at Senlis Fraser was court-martialled and reduced to the ranks for drunkenness while on active service.

In May and June 1916 A, D and E Squadrons of the North Irish Horse combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, and C and F Squadrons joined the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units. 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 Fraser, were transferred on 20 September and were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Fraser was issued regimental number 41491 and posted to C Company.

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

Fraser 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 learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at camps in Giessen and Limburg.

On 14 March 1919 Fraser was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.