Lieutenant Robert Douglas Finch Robertson (aged 25) of the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment (Newcestown ambush)
Date of incident: 9 Oct. 1920
Sources: II, 11, 14 Oct. 1920; CE, 11, 14, 15, 21 Oct. 1920; FJ, 14 Oct. 1920; II, 14 Oct. 1920; IT, 15 Oct. 1920; Frank Neville’s WS 443, 5 (BMH); Philip Chambers’s WS 738, 5 (BMH); William Desmond’s WS 832, 21-22 (BMH); Ted O’Sullivan’s WS 1478, 16 (BMH); Richard Russell’s WS 1591, 12 (BMH); Daniel Donovan’s WS 1608, 7-8 (BMH); Daniel Canty’s WS 1619, 14-16 (BMH); Con Flynn’s WS 1621, 11-12 (BMH); James Doyle’s WS 1640, 9-11 (BMH); Jeremiah Deasy’s WS 1738, 12-13 (BMH); Cornelius O’Sullivan’s WS 1740, 10-11 (BMH); Deasy (1973), 144-46; ‘The Irish Rebellion in the 6th Division Area’, Irish Sword, 27 (Spring 2010), 139; Sheehan (2011), 120; Bielenberg, Borgonovo, and Ó Ruairc (2015), 74; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission;
http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/percival-ambush/robertson/robertson.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/percival-ambush/percival-ambush.html (accessed 1 Aug. 2014).
Note: In this ambush near Newcestown village (eight miles from Bandon) on 9 October 1920, the IRA succeeded in inflicting serious casualties, killing an RAF flight lieutenant and fatally wounding Robertson, a winner of the Military Cross during the Great War. He died of wounds to the abdomen, stomach, and left kidney at Cork Military Hospital on 12 October. He was married with one child and was aged 25 at death. His wife and child resided at Mountgate, York, and his father at Southsea. See CE, 15 Oct. 1920. Lieutenant Robertson was buried in Fulford Water Burial Ground in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Less than a week later, British forces carried out a series of reprisals at Newcestown, burning the public house and dwelling of Richard O’Sullivan, wounding a local man named Jeremiah Lynch in the neck, destroying the hay of Patrick Corcoran, and trying without success to burn down the house of Mrs Lordan and her daughters at Cullenagh. ‘It looked as if’, recalled William Desmond, this British military party ‘had had some information about us being at both houses [those of the Lordans and the Corcorans] the night of the ambush [of British forces at Newcestown]’. See CE, 21 Oct. 1920; William Desmond’s WS 832, 25 (BMH). Former Volunteer Richard Russell recalled that ‘as a reprisal for the loss of their men’, British forces based at Bandon burned down the houses of Volunteer John Lordan (Vice O/C, Bandon Battalion) and the civilian Richard O’Sullivan. See Richard Russell’s WS 1591, 12 (BMH). The fire at the Lordans’ house was extinguished before doing much damage.