31st Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
29/08/1915 (Died of Illness)
Robert Jeffs was the son of Robert and Amelia Jeffs. Robert was born about 1893 in County Tyrone. The 1901 census shows 8 year old Robert to be at school The family were living at Lisnaclin, Bernagh, Tyrone. His father was a labourer. The 1911 census notes the 18 year old Robert was employed as a linen lapper. Robert was still living with the family in Gortmerron, Derrygortrevy, Tyrone. Private Robert Jeffs was with the 31st Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps when he died in Gallipoli on 29th August 1915, age 22.
Robert Jeffs was the second son of Robert and Amelia Jeffs. Robert Jeffs married Amelia Archer on 4th September 1884 in the district of Dungannon.
Robert Jeffs was born in Dungannon on 12th February 1892. He was one of seven children, four surviving.
Family: Robert Jeffs, Amelia Jeffs, William John Jeffs (born 14th June 1885), Mary Jeffs (born 8th July 1888, died 13th January 1889), Robert Jeffs (born 13th January 1890, died 19th April 1890), Robert Jeffs (born 12th February 1892), Joseph Jeffs (born 5th October 1893), James Jeffs (born 27th October 1895, died 26th January 1896), Anne Jane Jeffs (born 31st March 1897).
The 1901 census shows 8 year old Robert to be at school The family were living at Lisnaclin, Bernagh, Tyrone. His father was a labourer.
The 1911 census notes the 18 year old Robert is employed as a linen lapper. Robert is still living with the family in Gortmerron, Derrygortreavy, Tyrone. He is not married.
Robert Jeffs had been employed as a linen lapper at Drogheda with Messrs. Dickson & Company Milltown, Dungannon.
Robert Jeffs enlisted on 14th November 1914.
Private Robert Jeffs arrived in the Balkans with the Royal Army Medical Corps on 7th August 1915.
Private Robert Jeffs was with the 31st Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps when he died of enteric fever in Gallipoli on 29th August 1915, age 22.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 21th September 1915: Dungannon's Roll of Honour
Rev F S Morrow, B.A., preaching on Sunday in St Ann's Parish Church, Dungannon, said he had again to refer to the loss of two more members of the congregation who had gone forth and died in the service of their country. Corporal Robert McReynolds, Highland Light Infantry, had fallen in battle and Private Robert Jeffs, Royal Army Medical Corps, had succumbed to disease. Their bodies lay in soldier's graves far away from home beneath the grass of the Dardanelles. They had died fighting the battle of freedom, and no life blood was poured out in vain which was shed in defence of so noble a cause. The Death March in Saul was rendered at the close of the service, the congregation standing.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 23rd September 1915:
Mr Robert Jeffs, Gortmerron, Dungannon, received official intimation on Saturday last that his second son, Private Robert Jeffs, Royal Army Medical Corps, has died of enteric fever on 29th ult. at the Gallipoli Peninsula. Private Jeffs, who was 23 years of age, had been employed as a linen lapper at Drogheda with Messrs. Dickson & Company Milltown, Dungannon and had volunteered on 14th November last.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 25th September 1915: Private Robert Jeffs
Mr Robert Jeffs, Gortmerron, Dungannon, received official intimation on Saturday that his second son, Private Robert Jeffs, Royal Army Medical Corps, has died of enteric fever on 29th August at the Gallipoli Peninsula. In an accompanying note, Lord Kitchener stated that he had been commanded by the King to assure the bereaved parents of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in their sorrow. Private Jeffs, who was 23 years of age, had been employed as a linen lapper at Dundalk with Messrs Dickson & Company Milltown, Dungannon and had volunteered on 14th November last.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 25th September 1915: Dungannon’s Roll of Honour – Pulpit reference
At St Anne’s Parish Church on Sunday morning, Rev F S Morrow, B.A., in referring to recent casualties said:-
‘Before giving out the text we have once more to refer this morning to the loss of two more of those who went forth from us in the service of the country. One has fallen in battle – Corporal McReynolds, and one has succumbed to disease – Private Robert Jeffs. The bodies of both of them lie far away from home beneath the grass of the Dardanelles, where they met the enemy of their country. We are sorry for the grief their death must cause but if there is any consolation for their loss, it must lie in this - They had died a soldier’s death, they have died fighting the battles of freedom, and no life blood is poured vainlessly, which is shed in defence of so noble a cause. It was said by a French General, who had lost two sons in the war, and it was also said by an English lady that one must not grieve overmuch, though one cannot but be sorry for the deaths of such heroes. From their death life springs, and the great cause of liberty is maintained and ennobled. Such is the consolation at the present time, and every family which has lost one of its members in the great cause ought to be remembered amongst us with special honour. Their sons have given their lives and they could do no more. They have sacrificed themselves to free us from danger and the grief which the relatives feel, ought to be shared by them all. This is bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ. We publicly tender our thanks and our sincere sympathy, and we leave the souls of those who have gone in the hands of the God who made them, and who grieves over a soldier’s death, no less than we do.’
The Death March in Saul was performed, the congregation reverently standing.
Robert's older brother, Private William John Jeffs, died in Germany in May 1918.
Last Will and Testament
In his will, Robert left all to his mother, Mrs Amelia Jeffs, who was living at Bush Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone
Last Will and Testament of Private Robert Jeffs:
I, Private Robert Jeffs, No 46463, 31st Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps, do hereby revoke all former Wills by me made, and declare this to be last Will. After payment of my just debts and funeral expenses, I give my mother. Mrs A Jeffs, Bush Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone, absolutely for her sole and separate use, her receipt alone ? a sufficient discharge, the whole of my estate and effects , and everything I can give by law or dispose of, and I appoint Mr Joseph Jeffs, Dungannon, County Tyrone executor of this my will.
Unusually for someone who died of illness, Private Robert Jeffs has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.
Private Robert Jeffs is commemorated locally on Dungannon War Memorial and on the WWI Roll of Honour in St Anne's Church Of Ireland in Dungannon.
The CWGC record Private Robert Jeffs as the son of Mrs Amelia Jeffs of Bush Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone.