Private Robert Shields


The family background of this man is not certain, but based on the information given on his enlistment, he may have been the Robert John Shields born on 5 November 1894 at 43 Holywood Street, Belfast, the seventh of ten children of labourer (retired sergeant in the 1st Devonshire Regiment) Hugh Charles Shields and his wife Bertha Louise (née Harvey). At the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 9 Major Street, Belfast, with his parents and three of his five surviving siblings, and working as a general labourer. On 6 November 1915 he married Martha Anne Walker in St Mark's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Dundela, Belfast.

Shields enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 1 October 1918 (Corps of Hussars No.72185). He was described as being 5' 7" tall, with a fresh complexion, black hair and brown eyes, with a scar on his right thigh. He stated that he was 24 years old, was born in Ballymacarrett, and worked as a horse dealer.

Shields was reported to have deserted from the regiment's reserve base at Antrim on 6 October 1918, just five days after he enlisted. It is not known if he was subsequentially apprehended, but the birth record of his third child on 26 January 1919 shows that, at the time, he was living at 71 Kyle Street, Belfast, and working as a labourer.

Shields died in Belfast on 1 September 1964.


This page last updated 15 March 2024.