Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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19572   Private Robert John Rowe
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Dated added: 01/01/2016   Last updated: 20/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 05/04/1898
Died: 01/07/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 18
Summary      
Robert John Rowe was the son of Joseph and Esther Rowe. He was born on 5th April 1898. They were a farming family from Drumoolish, Tamlaght O’Crilly, Upperlands, Co. Derry. Robert’s mother died in December 1905 when Robert was 7 years old. Private Robert John Rowe was serving with the 10th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on Saturday 1st July 1916.
Further Information
Robert Rowe was the son of Joseph and Esther Rowe. Joseph Rowe married Esther Holmes on 16th December 1878 in the district of Magherafelt.
Robert John Rowe was born on 5th April 1898.
The 1901 census lists Robert John as age 3 living with the family at house 27 in Drumoolish, Tamlaght, County Londonderry. They were a farming family.
Family: Joseph Rowe, Esther Rowe, Sarah Rowe (born 10th August 1880), Margaret Rowe (born 28th February 1882), James Rowe (born 27th February 1884), Annie Rowe (born 29th October 1887), Joseph Rowe (born 9th September 1888), Jane Rowe (born 27th May 1890), William Rowe (born 21st March 1892), Esther Rowe (born 2nd April 1894), Elizabeth Rowe (born 8th October 1896), Robert John Rowe (born 5th April 1898), Thomas Bolton Rowe (born 25th October 1900), Sammie Rowe (born about 1902).
Robert’s mother, Esther Rowe, died in the Coleraine district on 26th December 1905, aged 45. Robert was 7 years old.
The 1911 census lists John as age 11 living with the family at house 12 in Drumoolish, Tamlaght, Upperlands. He was still at school. His father was a widower.
Robert Rowe enlisted in Londonderry.
Medal card
Private Robert John Rowe was serving with the 10th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on Saturday 1st July 1916.
In his will he left all to his sister, Mrs Sarah Collins, who also lived in Drumoolish.
Last Will and Testament of Private Robert John Rowe dated August 1915:
In August 1915, At his own residence at Drumoolish, Tamlaght O’Crilly, Upperlands, Co. Derry, Ireland. In case anything happens to me, I leave all I possess to my sister, Mrs Collins, Drumoolish. Mr William Collins, Drumoolish, was present at the time and heard the statement made. Signed by Private Samuel Rowe, 19170, of the 10th Inniskilling Fusiliers and by James McCaskey, 2nd Lieutenant of the 10th Inniskilling Fusiliers.
Private Rowe has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.
The CWGC record Private Robert John Rowe as the brother of Mrs Sarah Collins of Drumoolish, Upperlands, Co. Derry.
There is a suspicion that Robert is a brother of Samuel Rowe, but this has not been proved. Private Samuel Rowe is listed as a witness regarding Private Robert John Rowe’s Will, so it seems certain the two were related.
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Relevant Magherafelt Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Drumoolish, Tamlaght Upperlands Census listing in Drumoolish, Tamlaght 54.885485 -6.564078
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Rowe family 1901 census lists Robert John as age 3 living with the family at house 27 in Drumoolish, Tamlaght, Londonderry
2 1911 Census lists Collins family 1911 census lists Sarah Collins (sister) as age 30 living with her family at house 20 in Drumoolish, Tamlaght, Londonderry
3 1911 Census lists Rowe family 1911 census lists John as age 11 living with the family at house 12 in Drumoolish, Tamlaght, Londonderry
4 Diamond War Memorial Project Minimal information on Private Robert John Rowe
5 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of Private Robert John Rowe
6 National Archives UK Medal card of Private Robert John Rowe can be purchased here
7 Private Samuel Rowe Thought to be related to Private Robert John Rowe
Magherafelt District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2014-2021