Diamond War Memorial Project

Private Robert Birnie

2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Number 25597
Born: ---- Died: 1916-08-27 Aged: 18 Enlisted: Londonderry

Private Birnie is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, Pas de Calais, France. His name is commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Son of Mrs Birnie, 24, Edenmore Street, Londonderry (perhaps the Mary Jane Birnie, same address, who signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant, in September 1912, pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland).

Private Birnie volunteered a little over a year before he met his death, and had been in France for seven months. He was a member of Carlisle Road Methodist Church, and was the first of the congregation to die in the First World War.

The name of Robert Birnie was read out during a Protestant inter-denominational memorial service held, on Sunday, July 1, 1917, in St Columb's (Church of Ireland) Cathedral, Londonderry, to commemorate those Derry men who had made the supreme sacrifice during the previous year.

Two years after the death of Robert Birnie, his mother, sisters, and brothers placed the following in memoriam lines in a Londonderry newspaper:

'Dear son, my loss can never be told,

I miss you more as the years grow old;

But oft when I sit in sorrow and woe

And dream of the days of the dear long ago,

Unknown to the world you stand by my side

And whisper, ?Dear mother, death cannot divide.?'