Private Robert Wallace Patterson


Robert Wallace Patterson was born on 25 February 1892 at 7 Chapel Square, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the sixth of eight children of Scottish-born parents, maltster Alexander Patterson and his wife Agnes (née Wallace). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 12 Nursery Avenue, Coleraine, with his parents and his two younger siblings, and working as a general labourer.

Patterson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 November 1915 (No.1974 – later Corps of Hussars No.71650). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in late 1916. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment (probably D or E Squadron). This regiment served as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps from its establishment in May 1916 until February-March 1918, when it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Patterson remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 12 November 1918 he was admitted to the 18th General Hospital in France suffering from influenza. He remained there under treatment until 6 December. On 5 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Patterson returned to Coleraine where, on 3 April 1923, he married Mary Jane Anderson. By 1957 he was living at 22 Abbey Road and working as a plasterer. He died in the Coleraine Hospital on 26 March that year and was buried in the Coleraine Cemetery. His name is included on the New Row Presbyterian Church Roll of Honour.


Three of Patterson's four brothers also served in the war: Alexander in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; David, in the 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed in action on the Somme on 1 July 1916; and James, in the 49th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, who was killed in action in France on 15 September 1916 (see below).


Ballymoney Free Press, 30 November 1916