Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sergeant Robert (Bobby) Dalton - 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

Carrickfergus remembers today: Sergeant Robert (Bobby) Cromwell Dalton - 17557 - 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Died of Wounds sustained in battle 8th June 1917 aged 24.

Robert was born in Carrickfergus in1893, the son of Thomas and Agnes and brother to William, Joanna and David.  Prior to the war he lived with his family in Mountview, Lower Woodburn and worked as a messenger.

On the outbreak of war Bobby enlisted with the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Central Antrim Volunteers) and following training was posted to the Western Front where he was quickly promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  On the 7th June 1917 Robert along with the rest of the 12th Battalion were involved in fighting on Messines Ridge, a battle for which the Battalion & Ulster Division paid a huge price.  Robert sustained a gunshot wound during the fighting and was taken to a casualty clearing station in the town of Bailleul, France where he later passed away on the 8th June.  He was buried just outside the clearing station in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery (III C228) along with 124 other soldiers of the Royal Irish Rifles. As news of the lose trickled back home to Robert's family in late summer, a short remembrance service was held in the family church, 1st Carrickfergus Presbyterian.

His grieving mother would have taken some comfort from a letter recieved from
Nurse McPherson, charge nurse in the military hospital Bobby was sent to;

“My dear Mrs Dalton – I am exceedingly grieved to have to inform you that your son, Sergeant Dalton, was admitted to hospital yesterday suffering from severe gunshot wound of chest.  He was almost collapsed on admission and although everything possible was done for him that could be done, alas of no avail; he passed peacefully away this morning at 2.40.  He did not leave any message, but kept continually speaking of his mother and saying how much he loved her and missed her.  He sent his love and she was not to worry about him.  He quite realised he was dying.  Enclosed is a lock of his hair….

In response his mother and father submitted the following poem to the Carrickfergus Advertiser in memory of their dear son.  

                “Mourn not for me, my parents dear,
                I am not dead, but sleeping here;
                It was God’s will it should be so,
                At His command we all must go.

                Short was thy life, my darling son,
                But peaceful be thy rest;
                Mother misses you most of all,
                Because she loved you best.  

The grave of Sergeant Dalton


1 comment:

  1. Civil Marriage
    Date of Marriage 3 Dec 1886
    Groom Name Thomas DALTON
    Bride Name Agnes CROMWELL
    Church Saint Nicholas Church of Ireland
    Parish Carrickfergus
    Civil District Larne
    County Antrim

    U/1893/130/1016/18/314 Robert Dalton 17th June 1893 Male Cromwell Larne(pre-1973 Q4)