Lance Corporal Robert McAnuff


Robert McAnuff was born on 13 June 1891 at Cross, Rathfriland, County Down, the first of eleven children of labourer (later car driver) Joseph McAnuff and his wife Mary Ann (née Hamilton). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Newry Street, Rathfriland, with his parents and six siblings and working as a hardware apprentice for the firm William Hanna & Son.

McAnuff enlisted in the Norh Irish Horse at Ballymoney on 8 December 1915 (No.2028). Two days later his younger brother John McAnuff joined the regiment. They trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when they and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Robert McAnuff was issued regimental number 40891), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

On 4 January 1917 McAnuff was admitted to No.34 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from 'trench feet'. He was evacuated to No.5 General Hospital at Rouen, and then to the UK for further treatment. Following his recovery he was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He was promoted to lance corporal on 27 March 1917.

Soon after, McAnuff embarked for France to rejoin the 1st Battalion. However on 2 August 1917 the Ballymoney Free Press and Northern Counties Advertiser reported that:

Private Robert McAnuff, North Irish Horse (attached to the Royal Irish Rifles), has been wounded in the back, and is in hospital in Belfast.

It appears that, following his recovery, McAnuff remained in the UK with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, for much of the remainder of the war. On 14 November 1918 he transferred to the Tank Corps (No.318259), where he was posted to the 21st Battalion.

McAnuff was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 4 March 1919.

After the war he lived at Lisburn, where he worked as a hardware assistant. On 31 August 1921 he married Hessie Wilson.