SWARBRICK, Robert  188694

Medal Index Card:

Swarbrick Robert Aloysius, Royal Field Artillery, Gunner, 188694
2a Reserve Brigade

Date of discharge: 9th December 1918
Date of enlistment: 3rd March 1916
Cause of discharge: Paragraph 392 XVI King’s Regulations

Action taken List RA/2918

[It is curious that this man has a medal card as he never served abroad in a theatre of war and consequently would not have been eligible for any war service medals.]

Extract from WO 329/2974
188694 Gunner Swarbrick Robert Aloysius
Discharged from 2A Reserve Brigade
Badge number: B94400
Enlisted: 3rd March 1916
Discharged: 9th December 1918
Sickness – Para 392 xvi
Age 23 – had not served overseas

Extract from Robert's file WO 363 S 2919
[From his papers Robert appears to have been a reservist, but see answer to question re previous service.]
Record of Service Paper
Robert A Swarbrick Royal Regiment of Artillery [overstamped “Machine Gun Corps”]
Questions to be put to the Reservist on Joining
Address: 27, St Ignatius Square, Preston
Age: 20
Trade: Clerk
Married: no
Have you ever served in any branch of H.M. Forces? No
Preference: R.F.A.
Dated 14th November 1916

Next of kin: Thomas Swarbrick, 27, St Ignatius Square, Preston [father] – overwritten: Margaret Swarbrick – wife

Details of marriage:

Margaret Mary Shepherd, spinster at St Ignatius Church, Preston on 14th May 1918

Casualty Form – Active Service [information from two documents – both water damaged]
Royal Regiment of Artillery & R.F.A.
Gunner Swarbrick Robert A. 188694
Occupation: clerk
Deemed to have been enlisted: 3rd March 1916
Called up for service: 14th November 1916
From RFA No. 2 Depot – posted Gunner – 14th November 1916
Ditto – 9th Reserve Battery – posted 15th November 1916
Machine Gun Training Depot – posted – Transferred Authority WOL/100Cand/5834 AG9 – 15th March 1917
Machine Gun Training – posted 16th April 1917
RFA – Re-transferred Authority Memo O/C RH & RFA Records No. BQ/1422d 17-4-20 – 10th September 1917

No further entries visible on the page

Conduct sheet Royal Regiment of Artillery
Date of enlistment: 3rd March 1916

Enlisted 3rd March 1916 - date of attestation: 14th November 1916 at Preston
Passed fit category A
Posted to the Royal Field Artillery 9th Reserve Battery on the 15th November 1916

Transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 15th March 1917

Transferred back to the RFA on 10th September 1917

There seems to have been some confusion over this a memo dated 27th April 1920 from the Machine Gun Company Records office to the RHA Records section at Woolwich states:

Re 188694 Swarbrick R
Ref: your BQ 1338, kindly forward to this office extract from Part II Orders showing the authority for this man’s re-transfer to RFA on 10-9-17 to enable me to carry out transfer of documents please

Signed for Lt Col Machine Gun Records


This man was not re-transferred to RHA Reserve but he was taken on the strength of the 9th Reserve battery RHA in error on 10-9-17 and was discharged 9-12-18 as no longer physically fit for war service.

If the documents are forwarded to this office [R.H.& R.F.A Records Office Woolwich] they will be accepted as if the man was re-transferred on 10-9-17

Signed for Col i/c R.H. & R. F. A. Records
Woolwich SE 18

Extracts from "The Sons of the Eagle" [the magazine of Preston Catholic College]

Volume 3 number 3 Summer 1917

R. Swarbrick writes from Whitchurch, Salop: "I am in a Training Reserve Battalion, ie a Battalion for boys of 18; our officers and NCOs belong to the Border and East Lancs. Regiments, but the men come from all parts of the country, Scotland, Wales, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Devonshire, London etc. There are many decent boys amongst them. My neighbour in the hut is the son of a Preston parson. Another friend of mine was studying for a degree in engineering, has been in Germany two years and claims descent from John Bright - whoever J B might be I don't know, some great man at any rate.

"Pritt, out of Camden Place, Preston is here. I don't know whether you met him of not. He is a Stoneyhurst boy. He is in my regiment and I walk out with him almost every night.

"We have full facilities here for the practice of of our religion. The R C Chaplain's hut is only about 300 yards away and he says Mass there every morning and gives Benediction twice a week. The Chaplain by the way is a Belgian, and he speaks English "couramment" although anyone could tell that he is not English. As regards the country we are about 2 1/2 miles from Whitchurch, a small town. So we are all "au beau mileu de la campagne". It is truly a picturesque spot - a field away, in fact out of the hut you can see men ploughing in the fields. The soil is sandy and turfy. We are practising bayonet fighting and physical "jerks" - happy recollections of the little trots round the yard at Preston under the direction of Warrant Officer Yeo. How is Haring eh? I hear occasionally from H. Pyke. It has been very cold here lately - we have had snow almost every day.

"There is a library here and a reading room, so that we are not entirely devoid of news of the outer world. How happy are school days! My thoughts often wander back to those 6-7 hours of Stewart and Tilley and Fr History at the College. What a sweet life that was, compared to this, although we are not badly treated here."

Volume 4 number 2 June 1918

R Swarbrick writes: "Our battery sports were held on Easter Monday, with fairly successful results. I entered for three events: 1 boot race, in which I came in fourth; 2 relay race in which I finished third; 3 mule race; in this the judges could not agree as to whether I was second or third, but eventually decided for the latter. I quite enjoyed myself, the mule race especially being to my liking, for I had a splendid gallop of two or three miles across the plain, and the animal was not too obstinate, although he did take several jumps which were not in the game.

"I am absolutely A1 in health and quite happy. They give me plenty of work to do; in fact I'm general driver for the battery, and my duties consist of driving a pair of mules in a G.S. waggon on all kinds of jobs.

"Owing to the nature of my work I have not been available yet for a complete course of training; so this has had to have been done piecemeal. This arrangement has entirely satisfied me, and I still have a course of driving drill to be put through before being eligible for overseas in the ordinary course of events."

Robert Aloysius Swarbrick was born 21st May 1895 the third of five children born to Thomas and Sarah [Swarbrick] Swarbrick. In 1911 he was living with his parents in Preston and working as a clerk for a hop merchant. See also the records of his brothers, Richard Ignatius and William Aloysius. After the war Robert returned to Preston and worked alongside his brother Richard in the family printing business. Robert died on 27th February 1965 at Preston.

See also the entries for his brothers, Richard Ignatius and William Aloysius
In Name Order / In Address Order


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