Pioneer Robert Reid


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present, other than that he was born in 1879 or 1880.

Prior to the war he served for three years in the North Irish Horse (regimental number unknown).

On 12 February 1915 at Belfast, Reid enlisted in the Royal Engineers (No.64275). He was given the rank of driver and posted to the 150th Field Company, attached to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

Reid did not go to France with the 36th Division in October 1915, but instead was posted to the Royal Engineers Depot at Aldershot. On 12 March 1916 he married Sarah Ann Drum of Balleer, County Armagh, in the Aldershot Parish Church.

On 20 January 1917 Reid was transferred to Class W, Army Reserve, and sent to do agricultural work on a farm in Bromborough. Soon after, however, he applied to rejoin the army, writing to the Adjutant, Royal Engineers Depot at Aldershot:

I am only receiving 12/- per week & board. I understood my wife would have had received subsistence allowance but I am informed it would not be granted. I formerly belong[ed] to the Ulster Division Ireland. I wish to rejoin The Colours again to save my wife from starvation. Hoping you will consider my application as I couldn't possibly remain here on this amount weekly.

Reid's request was accepted and he rejoined the depot as a driver on 13 March. There, however, he was found to be physically unfit for mounted duties. On 9 May 1917 he was transferred to the Royal Engineers Signal Depot at Fenny, Stratford, with the rank of pioneer.

On 1 February 1919 Reid volunteered for service in the Army of Occupation in Germany. He served there until late 1919. He was discharged on 26 July 1920. His military character was recorded as 'very good; hardworking and industrious'.

After the war Reid lived at 41 Eglinton Street, Belfast, then at 37 London Street. At various times he was recorded as a linesman, manufacturer's agent, and labourer.

Reid died at Glengarry, Rostrevor, County Down, on 18 April 1938. He was buried in the Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast.