Saddler Corporal Robert Hugh Nixon


Robert Hugh Nixon was born on 14 May 1886 in Irish Street, Downpatrick, County Down, the first of six children of saddler Robert Nixon and his wife Elizabeth (nee McConbrey). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 37 Salisbury Street, Belfast, with his widowed mother and four surviving siblings, and working as a saddler.

Nixon enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 19 September and 19 October 1912 (No.739 – later Corps of Hussars No.71088). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In May and June 1916 C Squadron combined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, and A, D and E Squadrons combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units. In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and most of its men were transferred to the infantry. This may have been the time that Nixon was transferred to the 1st NIH Regiment.

One record suggests that he later served in the 10th Hussars, perhaps after the 1st NIH Regiment was converted to a cyclist regiment in February-March 1918 – his skills as a saddler being more useful to a cavalry regiment.

On 20 April 1919 Nixon was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Nixon lived with his family at 251 Woodstock Road, Belfast. He died of scarlet fever at Purdysburn Fever Hospital on 5 February 1920 and was buried in the Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast.


Belfast News-Letter, 7 February 1920


Nixon's brother William Henry also served in the war, in the 7th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was killed in action on 6 April 1916. In a further tragedy for the family, his sister Kathleen died of pneumonia on 5 October 1918, at the age of 24.


Northern Whig, 18 April 1916