Robert Downs

Census Address: 2 Burrell's Court, West Street
Place of Birth: Stamford
Date of Birth: 1896
Enlistment Address: --
Regiment: --
Service Numbers: --
Place of Death: --
Date Died: --

Robert Downs – 2 Burrell’s Court

Judson Downs married Mary Thrift in 1886 and they had 9 children. The 5 eldest, including 5yr old Robert, were living with them at 2 Burrell’s Court in 1901. In 1911 the two eldest girls had left home but 4 more children had been born so there were 7 children aged between 4yrs & 23yrs living with their parents in 3 rooms.

Judson, the father worked for a builder as a bricklayer’s labourer: Judson the eldest son as a carter and James William, the next son, made bricks at the brickworks. Robert aged 15 years was a grocer’s errand boy although at some time before the War he too had started work at Williams & Cliff Brickworks.

Robert enlisted as a Private in the Leicestershire Regiment Infantry on 24th May 1915 and by October that year was serving in France. Not a great deal is known about his military record except that his left ear was burnt by a trench mortar in 1916. He received three medals, the British, the Victory and the 1915 Star.

He was demobbed in March 1919 and his address was still 2 Burrell’s Court. He married Violet Martha Foxon in Leicester in 1924 and the first 3 of their 4 children were born in Stamford. Their eldest child, born 1927, was named Judson Colville Downs after Robert’s eldest brother who had died in 1921 aged 34yrs. (Surprisingly, there is no evidence of Robert’s Brother Judson C having served in the War.) Their next child was probably named for Robert’s uncle, George Downs, also a Private in the Lincs Regiment who was killed, aged 42yrs, on 26th October 1915 shortly after Robert went to France. Sometime after 1936 Robert and Violet moved to Leicestershire.

Other members of the family

Robert’s brother James William joined up in October 1914 and shortly afterwards had two ribs fractured by a gun-shot wound. He continued to serve however in Ireland and France, being demobbed in Janurary 1919.

Robert’s father died in 1923 but a Mrs J Downs was still living at 2 Burrell’s Court up to World War II – this could have been Robert’s mother or his brother’s widow.

Amendments and Addenda

Violet Downs left Stamford when her husband died in December 1938. (His death is missing from the BMD lists.) Robert was buried in the cemetery in Stamford. His grave is near that of his parents and Uncle Judson. His mother out-lived him and died in 1940. She lived as mentioned in Burrell’s Court, while Robert and Violet (nee Foxon) lived most of their married life at 40, East Street. It was an end house in a short row and the building is now part of the nearby Stamford School‘s playing field storage area. Robert and Violet’s eldest son was just too young to serve in WW2 however he served in the Army of Occupation in Oberhausen.