Sunday, 14 December 2014

Robert Strelley 1887-27/4/1918 Killed in Action - Flanders

Robert Strelley born in 1887 was the youngest son of William and Lavina Strelley.
1891 census has him living with Lavinia  and William aged 4  in 59 Dunn St Glasgow. Upon his marriage to Janet Bell in August 1912 he is  working as a ship rigger, aged 25.

With the coming of the Great War two years later he appears to have enlisted as Robert Stralley in 5th Service Bn Cameron Highlanders on 3/9/1914 at age 27. Service no S 11517.

Details from Strelley's Medical

  However he only stayed for one month before being discharged  on 19/10/1914 as “unsuitable” and “not likely to become an efficient soldier" This record matches with his marriage to Janet Bell so is undoubtedly him.

Some time after this, Robert Strelley re-enlisted as a Private in the 1/7th Blythswood Territorial Battalion.Service Number 280890. This is possibly around March 1917 (see Will) The 7th (Blythwood) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry was a unit of the Territorial Force with its HQ at 69 Main Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow.

 According to the website in 1917 the 7th Highlanders were

“in action during The First, Second and Third Battles of Gaza, at Wadi el Hesi, The capture of Junction Station, The Battle of Nabi Samweil and The Battle of Jaffa including the passage of the Nahr-el-Auja. 52nd Division remained in the line near Arsuf until March 1918 when it was relieved by the 7th (Meerut) Division and proceeded to France, sailing from Alexandria on the 11th of April, via Marseilles they concentrated near Abbeville. 52nd Division took over a sector of front line near Vimy on the 6th of May until the 23rd of July when they moved to take over the line north east of Arras. They were in action inThe Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line, The Battle of the Canal du Nord and The Final Advance in Artois. At the Armistice 52nd Division was north of the Mons canal engaged on clearing Herchies.”

But that was too late for Robert as he was Killed in Action on 27th August 1918.
His medal record shows he received the Victory and British Medal. Although a Private he is Acting Lance Corporal  by the time of his death. 

His grave is located at  St. Martin Calvaire British Cemetery  St. Martin-sur-Cojeul Pas de Calais France Plot: II. A. 25.
Robert Strelley's War Grave

An informal will  dated 28/3/1917 found in his Pay Book was declared valid under Scottish Law. The will was likely made around the time he re-enlisted.  In it he left his property and effects to his widow, Janet who was still residing  at 20 Sister St with his one year old daughter Agnes Short Strelley. Agnes was unlikely to have even met her father. Sadly, Agnes died of convulsions on 25/10/1918 just 2 months after her father was Killed in Action in France.   

Strelley's informal War Will
Thought of the Day:

The second record for Robert Strelley matched with the first  due to the address recorded on a number of other documents. Although it is not a very common name in Scotland, Robert had changed the spelling of his name- perhaps to put the authorities off the fact that he had been discharged before. It’s not unusual for the Scottish Strelleys to use different variations in spelling. 

Interestingly enough another child born illegitimately to  his brother William  was also  Robert Strelley- regiment no 64222 turned up in the search. Born 1898 in Glasgow he had enlisted as soon as he was old enough with the Royal Scots on  4/7/1918 but was discharged by 11/8/19 as   "No longer physically fit for war service". I'll have to chase up those records!!


1 comment:

  1. Who is there to remember this man? Strelley died, along with both his children. Eventually his wife remarried and had more children. I wonder if there is a Strelley / Bell or MacMillan relative in Glasgow who has a photo.