Private Robert James Patterson


Robert James Patterson was born on 4 February 1893 at Lurgana, near Whitecross, County Armagh, the third of five children of farmer Hugh Samuel Patterson and his wife Elizabeth (née Patterson). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Lurgana with his parents and three siblings and working on the family farm.

Patterson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 August 1913 (No.863 – later Corps of Hussars No.71136). It is probable that he was related to North Irish Horsemen Hugh Patterson of Lurgana, and William John Patterson of nearby Drumnahoney, who enlisted four months later.

Patterson embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. Little more is known of his experiences during the war, other than that he was hospitalised with influenza during January 1915. He remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 25 February 1919 he was discharged as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service (paragraph 392 xvi(a), King's Regulations). Patterson's disability was recorded as 'effects of appendicitis', attributable to his military service, and he was granted a pension.

After the war Patterson worked in Belfast as a tea merchant's assistant. On 14 September 1921 he married Miriam Anna Marks at the Fitzroy Avenue Presbyterian Church, Belfast.

Patterson's health did not recover following his discharge – it appears that he had contracted tuberculosis during the war. He died of the disease at the Ulster Volunteer Force Hospital, Belfast, on 15 April 1923.