L' CPL ROBT NIVEN JR K.L.R.
57452 Lance Corporal Robert Niven
18th (Lancashire Hussars) Battalion
The King's Liverpool Regiment
missing presumed dead 21st March 1918
Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette
St Machar's Church Memorial, Bridge of Weir
Son of Robert Niven and Elizabeth Waddell
Maxwell Terrace, Bridge of Weir
Robert Niven was born on 11th June 1898 at 37 Underwood Road, Paisley, the second of a family of at least five born to Robert Niven junior, a plasterer from Paisley and Elizabeth Waddell from Edinburgh, who had married in Paisley on 27th May 1898.
In 1901 Robert (25), Lizzie (22), and two of their children Robert (2) and David were living in 4 Barr Street, Paisley. Robert was a plasterer.
By 1911, the Niven family of seven was living in a 2-roomed flat in Co-operative Terrace, off Main Street, Bridge of Weir. Young Robert (12) was at school. Robert, the father, was by then employing others in his plasterer business.
Robert Niven junior volunteered on 28th August 1915 when he was 17 years old and was enlisted into the 3rd Battalion 1st Division of the Cycle Corps, Lowland Division, Regimental No. 1119. His father enlisted on 13th November 1915, and he survived the war.
Private Niven's Medal Index Card does not record when he first joined the theatre of war but he was not awarded the 1914 -15 Star. Nor does his medal card record promotion to Lance Corporal, although a newspaper report from October 1919, when he was finally presumed killed, provides some corroboration of the rank inscribed on the memorial. At some point he was transferred to the 18th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment which was attached to the 89th Brigade, 30th Division.
There is some uncertainty about the exact time and location of his death. The Commonwealth War Graves commemoration certificate has his date of death as 9th April 1918. On that day, war diaries for his battalion record one "other ranks" killed by trench mortar fire in the Poelcappelle sector in the Ypres salient in Belgium, but this does not fit with Robert being "missing presumed dead", which is usually associated with mass fatalaties incurred in a day of intense battle after which bodies could not be recovered.
He is commemorated as Private R Niven in the Ham British Cemetery, about 20 km south-west of St Quentin. The town of Ham was in German hands from 23rd March 1918 during their push towards Amiens. Robert's original grave reference is given as the Croix-Molignaux German Cemetery, 10km north-west of Ham. His Soldier's Will has a death date of 21st March 1918, the first day of Operation Michael, the beginning of the German Spring Offensive, the Kaiserslacht. These earlier dates, when the division was in the vicinity before being relocated to Ypres, are consistent with Robert being commemorated in the Ham cemetery, around 100 miles south of where his battalion was fighting in Ypres on the day the memorial records at CWGC and SNWM believe him to have died. The report in the Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette on 1 October 1919 also refers to him being posted missing 21-28 March 1918.
|1901 Census||1911 Census||Birthplace|
|David||10 mo||David||10||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Sarah||3||Bridge of Weir|
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Scottish National War Memorial
- Robert Niven birth certificate, 11th June 1898. Regd Paisley, Renfrew 27th June 1898.
- 1901 UK Census: Parish: Paisley; ED:25; Page:30; Line:19; Roll: CSSCT1901_205.
- 1911 UK Census: Parish: Kilbarchan; Ward: Bridge of Weir. page 7, lines 30-35; 559/0B 002/00 007; page 8, line 1; 559/0B 002/00 008.
- Robert Niven Soldier's Will. scotlandspeople
- Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette
- 28th August 1915: Listed as having taken Oath of allegiance to King and Country. 3 - 1st Division Cycle Corps. Robert Niven jnr., Co-operative Terrace;
- 13th November 1915: Robert Niven snr. is the latest to join the Colours. He is well known in the Village as a contracting plasterer, and his only eligible son, Robert, is in a unit in the Cycle Corps Lowland Division.
- 1st October 1919: Reported missing on March 21-28, 1918, now presumed killed, Lance Corporal R. Niven (57452) 18th King's Liverpool, eldest son of R.E.Niven, Maxwell Terrace, Bridge of Weir.
- Army Diary WO 95/2330:
- 7th April 1918. Night quiet. Lt Col G S Clayton re-joined and assumed command.
- 8th April 1918: Day quiet. Visibility poor.
- 9th April 1918: Enemy shelled forward posts with trench mortars and guns for about an hour. Wire put out at night around posts. Visibility bad during the day and little activity. Casualties 1 killed and 1 other ranks wounded.
- Kilbarchan Cemetery Monumental Inscription:
o In loving memory of my dear husband ROBERT NIVEN died 19th May 1936 aged 59 years our son ROBERT killed in action in France 1918 aged 20 years ELIZABETH WADDELL wife of the above ROBERT NIVEN died 1962 aged 84 years.
- Medals: Victory, British War.
TO CITE THIS PAGE: MLA style: "Bridge of Weir Memorial". Date of viewing. http://www.bridgeofweirmemorial.co.uk/profile-niven.html