Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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7881   Private Robert Falls
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 22/05/2018
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 06/04/1885
Died: 26/08/1914 (Killed in Action)
Age: 29
Summary      
Robert Falls was a son of John and Margaret Falls of Blue Doors, Coolkeeghan, Cookstown. Robert enlisted in 1903 and had served for a time in China. He was a life long friend of Private William Nixon. The two friends were almost the same age and lived next door to each other. Tragically they died on the same day. His younger brother, Samuel was killed in action while serving with the Scots Guards on 27th September 1915 at the Battle of Loos.
Private Robert Falls
Further Information
Robert Falls was the eldest son of John and Margaret Falls. John Falls married Margaret Keys on 20th March 1883 in Omagh.
Robert was born in Tempo, County Fermanagh on 6th April 1885.
John Falls died on 10th July 1900 in Cookstown. Robert was 15 years old.
The 1901 census lists Robert as age 17 living with the family at house 10 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown. Robert was working as a heckler in a mill. The census confirms his mother as a 40 year old widow working as a housekeeper.
Family: John Falls (died 10th July 1900), Margaret Falls, Eliza Falls (born 6th January 1884), Robert Falls (born 6th April 1885), Theresa Falls (born 19th September 1886, died 29th July 1887), Mary Falls (born 25th March 1888), Samuel Joseph Falls (born 11th August 1889), Irwin Falls (born 2nd April 1891), Margaret Falls (born 11th July 1894), George Falls (born 4th March 1896), Isabella Falls (born 26th May 1898), Teresa Falls (born 17th October 1899).
Robert enlisted in 1903 and had served for a time in China. He was a lifelong friend of Private William Nixon. The two friends were almost the same age and lived next door to each other.
Robert was well known in Cookstown. He distinguished himself in sporting circles by winning a marathon race in Malta a few years before the war when he defeated several French runners and covered the twenty-six miles in about three hours. His prize was a silver casket priced at the time at £10, which his widowed mother and his brothers at home greatly prized.
While serving in China with the British Legation Board, Robert won a medal in a cross-country race promoted by the Army and Navy YMCA, in Peking in 1910. After completing his time of service in the Army, Robert was employed for some time in Scotland.
The 1911 census does not list Robert as living with the family at house 10 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown.
Ulster Dairy School, Cookstown
Robert returned home and found work at the Ulster Dairy School (now Loughry College) where he worked in the farmyard. He was a member of the Church of Ireland and a member of Strifehill L.O.L.
Robert Falls was also a member of LOL 133 in Coatbridge District 22.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Robert joined his old regiment and was Robert was posted to France on 23rd August 1914 with the first draft of men.
Private Robert Falls was killed in action in the battle of Le Cateau on 26th August 1914. His unit was driven back about 200 yards before eventually recovering most of the lost ground. It was during this action that Robert was killed. The Battalion lost thirty-six men on this day. Tragically his great friend Private William Nixon died on the same day.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914:
FALLS – Killed in action (date and place unknown), Robert Falls, of Cookstown, Private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 24th October 1914: Private Robert Falls
Private Robert Falls was well known in Cookstown and had made himself celebrated in sports circles by securing the championship of the Marathon Race at Malta some few years ago, when he defeated several French runners, and in three hours covered twenty-six miles. The prize was a silver casket, value for almost £10, which is widowed mother and brothers who live at The Finger Boards, Cookstown, greatly prize. Private Falls, who was a native of Cookstown, was a life-long chum of Private William Nixon, whose death at the front we recorded last week. Falls and Nixon were almost the same age, and the two families lived next door to each other. Both enlisted in the Inniskillings in 1903, and probably met their deaths in the same engagement. Falls served in China with the British Legation Guard, and in 1910 won a medal in a cross country foot race, promoted by the army and navy Y.M.C.A. in Peking. After completing his term of service he was employed for some time in Scotland, and before being called up on the declaration of war, worked in the farmyard of the Department’s Ulster Dairy School at Loughry. He was just thirty years of age., and leaves a widowed mother and several brothers and sisters. He belonged to the Irish Church, and was a member of Strifehill L.O.L. and the Cookstown Company of U.V.F. His brother Sam, who was working in Scotland, recently joined the Scots Guards.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 23rd October 1915:
FALLS – In loving and affectionate remembrance of No 7881 Private Robert Falls, C Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed in action about the 18th October 1914, at the Battle of Mons.
‘Some long and dreary weeks have passed
Since this great sorrow fell;
The shock which I received that day
I still remember well.
Although I am in a far off land,
And your grave I cannot see,
As long as life and memory last,
I will remember thee.
He died a hero’s death – a true and British soldier.
Loved, mourned, and sadly missed by his mother, brothers and sisters, Blue Doors, Cookstown.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 21st October 1916:
FALLS – In loving and affectionate remembrance of No 7881 Private Robert Falls, C Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who was killed in action about the 18th October 1914, at the Battle of Mons.
‘Often there my thoughts do wander,
To the grave so far away,
Where they laid my dear son
Just two years ago today.
Lying dying in a foreign land;
No mother near to take his hand;
No sister near to shed a tear
No brothers, his last words to hear.’
Inserted by his sorrowing mother, brothers, sisters, Blue Doors, Cookstown.
Private Robert Falls has no known grave and is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France.
Tragically, his great friend Private William Nixon died on the same day, but he is buried in Esnes Communal Cemetery, France.
His younger brother, Private Samuel Falls, was killed in action 13 months later while serving with the Scots Guards on 27th September 1915 at the Battle of Loos.
Private Falls is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph and St. Luran’s Church of Ireland Roll of Honour, Derryloran Cookstown.
The CWGC record Private Robert Falls as the son of Margaret Falls, of Blue Doors, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, and the late John Falls.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Blue Doors, Killymoon Cookstown South Census listing in Killymoon Demesne 54.629935 -6.742254
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Falls family 1901 census lists Robert as age 17 at house 10 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown
2 1911 Census lists Falls family 1911 census does not list Robert at house 10 in Killymoon Demesne, Cookstown
3 Battle Of Cateau The Battle of Le Cateau was essentially a rearguard action…
4 Derryloran Parish Church of Ireland Roll of Honour Published in the Mid-Ulster Mail on Saturday 2 January 1915
5 FindAGrave.com Photo of Private Robert Falls' inscription can be purchased here
6 Forum discussion (GWF) Some details of the Falls brothers
7 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here (No 4881)
8 Private Samuel Falls Younger brother of Private Robert Falls
9 Private William Nixon Friend
10 Soldiers Died in the Great War Details of Private Robert Falls
11 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Private Robert Falls' inscription can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2018