Private Robert Matthew Magill


Robert Matthew Magill was born on 20 January 1889 at Bundoran, Ballyshannon, County Donegal, the first or second of five children of book-seller (formerly draper, later port missionary) Andrew Magill and his wife Ellen (née McCleery). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 50 Mulgrave Street, Kingstown, Dublin, with his parents and two surviving siblings, and working as a missionary. The family later moved to Belfast.

Magill enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 4 January 1916 (No.2055). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France around October 1916, where he was posted to B or C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Magill, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Magill was issued regimental number 41282.

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

In late 1917 or early 1918 Magill fell ill with trench fever and was evacuated to the UK for treatment. He was discharged on 7 August 1918, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was awarded a pension due to the trench fever and 'disordered action of the heart', his level of disability assessed at 40 per cent in April 1920.

Following his discharge Magill lived with his family at 25 Cavehill Road, Belfast. He later worked as a clergyman, living in Canada from 1929 until the death of his wife Margaret Elizabeth (née Sloan) in 1932, when he returned to Northern Ireland with their daughter. He later returned to Canada, where he died on 11 October 1980. He was buried in the Woodland Cemetery, Welland, Ontario.


Belfast Telegraph, 24 October 1980



Gravestone image sourced from the Find-A-Grave website.