Our People - Robert Darwen
Image from Preston Guardian
Family Headstone at St.Mary's Brownedge, Bamber Bridge
Image (C) Charles O'Donnell
51864 Private Robert Darwen
9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in Action 29 April 1918
His body was not recovered for burial. He is remembered on Tyne Cot Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Ref. Panel 61 to 63
Lostock Hall - South Ribble Civic WW1 Memorial
British War Medal, Victory Medal
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Robert Darwen was born about 1899 to Robert and Margaret Darwen (nee Wrigley). In 1901 Robert was living at 7 James Street, Bamber Bridge with his parents who were both 39 years old. The elder Robert was a self-employed window cleaner who was born at Whitte-le-Woods. Roberts’ siblings were Mary (15), a cotton weaver, Margaret (13) a cotton spinner, Teresa (12), a cotton weaver, James Anselm (9), Martha (7) and Robert (2). Everyone else in the household was born in Bamber Bridge.
By 1911, the elder Robert Darwen had become a maltster and brewer and the family had moved to 20 Sergeant Street, Bamber Bridge. Margaret was looking after the house and the family had been joined by another son, Austin Bernard (8). Mary was still a weaver, as were Margaret, Martha and Teresa. James had become an omnibus driver, while the younger Robert was a mule-spinner. Austin was at school.
Robert enlisted at some point in 1917, but we cannot be precise as no service record seems to exist. He followed his elder brother James Anselm who had enlisted in 1914 into the army. On the day of his death, the 9th Battalion suffered heavy bombardment from the German lines, sustaining about 50 casualties. The war diary reported:
According to the newspaper report below, James heard of his death after overhearing a conversation. James was also killed in action later that year. Before the war, Robert had worked for the Bamber Bridge Spinning and Weaving Company at their Wesley Street Mill in Bamber Bridge.
His mother Margaret was awarded credits of £5 7s. 3d. on 13 November 1918 and a War Gratuity of £4 10s. 0d. on 1 December 1919. Robert was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Please email the project with any amendments or corrections
Edited 11 December 2016
1901 Census of England via Ancestry.co.uk / 1911 Census of England via Ancestry.co.uk / UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 via Ancestry.co.uk / British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 via Ancestry.co.uk / Commonwealth War Graves Commission / Preston Guardian / 9th Battalion Cheshire Regiment War Diaries via Ancestry.co.uk