Bridge of Weir

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Robert Niven L' CPL ROBT NIVEN JR K.L.R.

57452 Lance Corporal Robert Niven

18th (Lancashire Hussars) Battalion
The King's Liverpool Regiment

missing presumed dead 21st March 1918

aged 19

Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir
Kilbarchan Cemetery

Son of Robert Niven and Elizabeth Waddell
Maxwell Terrace, Bridge of Weir

His Life

Robert Niven was born on 11th June 1898 at 37 Underwood Road, Paisley, the second of a family of at least five born to Robert Niven junior, a plasterer from Paisley and Elizabeth Waddell from Edinburgh, who had married in Paisley on 27th May 1898.

In 1901 Robert (25), Lizzie (22), and two of their children Robert (2) and David were living in 4 Barr Street, Paisley. Robert was a plasterer.

By 1911, the Niven family of seven was living in a 2-roomed flat in Co-operative Terrace, off Main Street, Bridge of Weir. Young Robert (12) was at school. Robert, the father, was by then employing others in his plasterer business.

Robert Niven junior volunteered on 28th August 1915 when he was 17 years old and was enlisted into the 3rd Battalion 1st Division of the Cycle Corps, Lowland Division, Regimental No. 1119. His father enlisted on 13th November 1915, and he survived the war.

Private Niven's Medal Index Card does not record when he first joined the theatre of war but he was not awarded the 1914 -15 Star. Nor does his medal card record promotion to Lance Corporal, although a newspaper report from October 1919, when he was finally presumed killed, provides some corroboration of the rank inscribed on the memorial. At some point he was transferred to the 18th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment which was attached to the 89th Brigade, 30th Division.

There is some uncertainty about the exact time and location of his death. The Commonwealth War Graves commemoration certificate has his date of death as 9th April 1918. On that day, war diaries for his battalion record one "other ranks" killed by trench mortar fire in the Poelcappelle sector in the Ypres salient in Belgium, but this does not fit with Robert being "missing presumed dead", which is usually associated with mass fatalaties incurred in a day of intense battle after which bodies could not be recovered.

He is commemorated as Private R Niven in the Ham British Cemetery, about 20 km south-west of St Quentin. The town of Ham was in German hands from 23rd March 1918 during their push towards Amiens. Robert's original grave reference is given as the Croix-Molignaux German Cemetery, 10km north-west of Ham. His Soldier's Will has a death date of 21st March 1918, the first day of Operation Michael, the beginning of the German Spring Offensive, the Kaiserslacht. These earlier dates, when the division was in the vicinity before being relocated to Ypres, are consistent with Robert being commemorated in the Ham cemetery, around 100 miles south of where his battalion was fighting in Ypres on the day the memorial records at CWGC and SNWM believe him to have died. The report in the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette on 1 October 1919 also refers to him being posted missing 21-28 March 1918.


1901 Census 1911 Census Birthplace
Name Age Name Age
Robert2Robert12 Paisley, Renfrewshire
David10 mo David10 Paisley, Renfrewshire
Margaret9 Paisley, Renfrewshire
Lizzie7 Paisley, Renfrewshire
Sarah3 Bridge of Weir


TO CITE THIS PAGE: MLA style: "Bridge of Weir Memorial". Date of viewing. http://www.bridgeofweirmemorial.co.uk/profile-niven.html