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This page contains the records of the person you have selected. Information has been verified and a signature gained from the living next of kin.


All data is offered in good faith. Should you feel any information is inaccurate or incomplete or perhaps you have extra information which could be included please contact info@safn.org.uk

 


Name Robert Henry Downs (Snr).
Nick Name  
Last Known Address  
Family Circumstances Married. Father of Gordon Downs (see entry).

Unit of Service

122 Battery Royal Horse Artillery, 28 Brigade RFA ,

5th Divison, British Expeditionary Force

Number and Rank 56125, Private / Driver.
Date & Place of Death 7th June 1968, Sunderland, aged 83.
Grave Location
(if known)
 
Where Commemorated
(if known)
 

Details of any Medals, conflict, training or operations which the deceased had participated in during service.

Robert was awarded the Victory Medal, The 1914 - 1915 Star, and the British War Medal.

Robert left Sunderland on 5th August 1914 the day after the outbreak of the Great War.

He went to Belfast to collect his horse before being sent France arriving on the 23rd August 1914.

He  witnessed action in the Battle of Mons. In November 1914 he went to Hemmell and in April 1915 to Ypres.

On the 17th April 1915 he was involved in the Battle of Hill 60 which claimed the lives a Brigadier, a Battery Sgt Major,          2 Sgts and 9 Gunners. On Roberts Service book (see below) he is also listed as serving with the Royal Army Service Corp.

Other general information. online links, images etc.

Robert was born in Sunderland on the 15th September 1885. (See record entry below in National Births). In the 1901 Census (see below) he was recorded as living with his parents in Hastings Street and working as a Domestic Gardner.

In the 1911 Census he is serving with 137th Battery Royal Horse Artillery in Bulford Wiltshire.

Robert attended Valley Road School and then Grangetown and Herrington School. After leaving the Army he worked with the horses at Vaux's Brewery in the fitting shop as a Machinary Fitter.  In 1923 he was the proprietor of Bridge Garage and then in 1926 worked at The Sunderland Forge and Engineering Co Ltd retiring in 1950. (see retirment letter below).

 

                 Robert was the father  three sons all in different services in WW2                                                                                                                                           

            

 

He was also the Great Grandfather of Helen Border 

 

Below: Record of Robert's Birth

Below: 1901 Census.

Name:

Robert H Downs

Age:

15

Estimated Birth Year:

abt 1886

Relation to Head:

Son

Gender:

Male

Father:

John W Downs

Mother:

Ann E Downs

Birth Place:

Sunderland, Durham, England

Civil Parish:

Sunderland

Ecclesiastical parish:

Hendon St Barnabas

County/Island:

Durham

Country:

England

Registration district:

Sunderland

Sub-registration District:

South Bishopwearmouth

Household Members:

Name

Age

John W Downs

38

Ann E Downs

37

Robert H Downs

15

William W Downs

13

Mary L Downs

11

Ada J Downs

7

View
Original
Record

 




 

 

Below: 1911 Census.

Name:

Robert Henry Downs

Age in 1911:

24

Estimated Birth Year:

abt 1887

Gender:

Male

Birth Place:

Sunderland, Durham, England

Civil Parish:

Bulford

County/Island:

Wiltshire

Country:

England

Street address:

Bulford Hut Barracks, Bulford Camp, Salisbury

Marital Status:

Single

Military Unit:

137th Battery Royal Field Artillery

Registration district:

Amesbury

Registration District Number:

252

Sub-registration district:

Amesbury

Household Members:

Name

Age

Arthur Ernest Simons

29

Sydney Sainsbury

49

Sydney Stay

41

Russell Dunmore Gubbins

49

Cecil Edward George Woollcombe Adams

37

William Head

40

Henry James Coppins

31

James Smith

36

John Wingfield Renny Tailyour

29

Hugh Ellison Wethered

22

Wilmot Edward Maitland Dougall

20

Ralph Cuthbert Grant Lyon

20

Thomas Augustus Sims

37

John Percy Adams

37

Charles Edward Hill

36

John Henry Doughty

36

Henry George Boyd

35

Thomas Henry Mac Carthy

30

John Smith

26

Charles James Mintrim

29

Arthur Samuel Barker

27

Ernest George Britt

23

Oliver Beavis West

23

Thomas Edward Foster

22

Herbert Horan

24

Ernest Dudley Hopkins

23

Alexander John Crosoer

29

Stanley George Ballamy

22

William Greedy

22

Edward Robert Haddington

21

Edward Smart

20

Frederick Hatcher

21

William Woolgar

19

Christopher Joseph Rogers

26

James William John Hoskings

29

William Watts

20

Patrick John Barrett

27

John Collins

22

Clarence Laine Walters

18

Ernest Crafter

16

Frederick William Allen

20

Sidney Arthur Ball

25

Frederick George Ballotti

21

James Buckland

20

James Cortis

20

George Harold Cottrell

20

Charles Day

20

Charles Dolwin

19

Charles Alfred Forley

31

Joseph Walter Finch

27

James Hill

22

George Isles

21

Christopher John Mason

20

Percy Samuel Meddemmen

20

William John Moore

19

Philip Barford Pearce

18

George Harry Perkins

22

Ernest Playle

21

Frederick Robert Newton Prestige

24

Albert Price Reed

19

Lewis Sawyer

21

Stanley Arthur Sewell

19

Frederick Arthur Simmonds

29

Harold Simkins

25

John Thomas Skeates

21

Basil Frederick Smith

21

William Smyth

24

Edwin Stinchcomb

25

Peter Henry Taylor

23

Leonard Theobald

23

Herbert Arthur Thornton

34

Thomas Henry Timbrell

27

Herbert Arthur Tipping

19

John Edward Whitty

19

William Thomas Yeates

26

Thomas Younger

19

Alfred Bentham

18

Frederick Bellinger

20

William Henry Benton

20

Robert Richard Blake

23

William Albert Bore

19

Albert Bradden

22

James Henry Burke

24

Harry Collins

20

Thomas Colvay

18

Jesse Coomby

23

William Crockford

22

Charles George Cropp

21

Thomas Cureton

41

William Curram

21

John Ethelbert Davies

24

William Dedman

20

Robert Henry Downs

24

Claude Walter Ellis

22

Albert Freeman

18

Edward John Gingell

18

John Bowie Graham

20

Benjamin Groves

19

George Haysom

35

William Jasper

19

 

 

 

Below: Robert mounted during service.

 

Below: Robert's Medals and other memorabilia.

 

Who were the "Old Contemptibles"

When the war broke out, Great Britain had a small, but well-trained and equipped army. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF), the army’s official name, was made up of just 160,000 men. “The Old Contemptibles” is the nickname given to them by Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, when he gave the command to crush Great Britain’s “Contemptible little army” at Aix-en-Chapelle. The British soldiers proudly took this nickname with them to the Battle of Mons, but in their version, this name had another meaning, i.e. that of a tough and battle-hardened army. The British troops rose to the challenge on 23 August 1914 and succeeded in delaying the German advance and eventually bringing it to a halt in Geluveld in October-November 1914.

 

Below: Roberts Service Book.

Below: A keen footballer.

 

Below: The unit Picture.

 

Below: Roberts Retirment Letter.

 

Below: Entry of Death for Robert.

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


All data is offered in good faith. Should you feel any information is inaccurate or incomplete please contact sunderlandafn@gmail.com

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