Bridge of Weir

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41975 Private Robert Burns

10th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers

killed in action 12th May 1917

aged 20

Arras Memorial
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir

Gryfe Castle Cottage, Bridge of Weir
Son of James Burns and Margaret Jaffray

His Life

Brothers James and Robert Burns were both killed in World War I. Robert was born on 5th October 1896 at 48 Woodside Terrace Lane, Glasgow, the son of James Burns, from Fenwick, Ayrshire and Margaret Jaffray from Mid Mar, Aberdeenshire who had married in Kinning Park, Glasgow on 15th January 1892.

In 1901 the Burns family of four was still living in Woodside Terrace Lane. James senior was a domestic coachman. James junior was at school and Robert was 4 years old.

In 1911, James, Margaret and Robert (14) were in 43 Claremont Terrace Lane, Glasgow. James was a domestic chauffeur, and Robert was still at school. His elder brother James was a domestic groom for the Ogilvie family in Corsliehill House, Houston, Renfrewshire.

East of Arras

Before he enlisted, Robert was living in Gryfe Castle Cottage, Bridge of Weir.

Robert Burns enlisted at Paisley. His Medal Roll Index Card does not state the date that he entered the theatre of war, but does confirm that he enlisted in the Army Service Corps as a driver and was later transferred to the 10th Battalion, Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, which came under orders of 52nd Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division. (Note that his Medal Roll Index Card has regimental number 41795, whereas the Commonwealth War Grave Certificate has 41975).

The 17th Division fought in the Battle of Arras, a British offensive from 9th April to 16th May 1917, by the end of which the British Empire Forces had made significant advances but failed to make a breakthrough. The Empire lost over 150,000 men in the offensive.

Robert survived the Division's involvement in the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe. He was killed on 12th May 1917 in the lead up to the Capture of Roeux.

He was the first of the two Burns brothers to fall, and is remembered on the Arras Memorial. He was 20 years old.


1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age
James7 James*18 Mauchline, Ayrshire
Robert 4 Robert 14 Glasgow, Lanark

* = not in James and Margaret Burns family home - see text for details


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