RILEY, Robert Pte. 16021

Robert Riley

Robert Riley

Robert Riley had served 14 years with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, taking part in fighting around Spion Kop during the Boer War in South Africa – he was one of two men who escaped unscathed from the battle there on the 24th January 1901.

Robert enlisted in the Chorley Pals on the 2nd September 1914 and went with them to Caernarvon for training in February 1915. However, probably due to his age (he was born in 1872), he was transferred to the 75th Training Reserve Battalion as Private 48111. Prior to enlisting, Robert worked as a Twister at Diamond Mill. Born in Chorley, in his younger days he was well known on the running track, winning numerous prizes – his brother was Tom Riley who had played for Aston Villa.

Robert died of pneumonia at Whitchurch Hospital on the 14th November 1916 and was buried with full military honours at Chorley Cemetery a few days later; on his gravestone is the phrase “In hope of glorious resurrection. He left a widow, Hannah (whom he married in 1909) and a son, Tom; they worshipped at St. George’s Church in Chorley.

Other Information: Tom Riley, Robert’s brother, was born in Blackburn c1882 and played for Chorley F.C., Blackburn Rovers and Brentford before being signed by Aston Villa. A Defender, he made 16 appearances for the Midlands club between April 1906 and June 1908 before being transferred to Brentwood F.C.; he died at Southampton in 1939.