Robert William Kelly


Robert’s paternal grandparents were Robert and Jane Kelly. Robert Snr was born in St Asaph, Flint, about 1827 and Jane in Caerwyn about 1829. In 1861 they lived in Denbighshire with 6 children, of whom the fourth was John Shelmerdine, Robert’s father, then aged 5. The family appear to have moved from Wales to the West Midlands and returned later to St Asaph. Robert Snr was a painter and plumber. In 1871 they lived at Lower St, St Asaph. Robert Snr was now a plumber and glazier.

The maternal grandparents were William and Maria Hall. William was born in Odd Rode, Cheshire, about 1833 and Maria in Lawton, Cheshire, about 1839. In 1871 they lived at the Lawton Salt Works and William was a bricklayer. They had 3 children and a lodger. The oldest child was Olive (Robert’s mother), then aged 6.


John Shelmerdine Kelly was born in Darlaston, Staffordshire, in 1855. By the age of 15 he was a painter but later became a plumber. We failed to definitively identify him in the 1881 census but believe he was married and living in lodgings. His first wife later died.

Olive Hall was born in Lawton and was baptised there on 2 April 1865. In the 1881 census she was working as a nurse (servant) for George C Holt and his family at Green Bank, Lawton. Mr Holt was a surgeon and lived with his wife, 4 children, a governess, 2 nurses, a housemaid and a cook.

John and Olive married at Christ Church on 30 January 1888. By this time John was a plumber and a widower. Olive’s father, William, was deceased. The couple’s address was 13 Moor St, West Didsbury. In 1901 the family lived at 1 Cavendish Avenue with 3 children, Fred M, 18 and a carpenter/joiner, Joseph, 11, and Robert William, 3. In 1911 they lived at 12 Moor St. By this time one of the older boys had died and they had a fourth son, James, aged 9.

Robert William

Robert was born Manchester in 1897. At some point in his early years the family lived in Orchard Grove. It is unclear whether his first school was St Paul’s or St Cuthbert’s but he joined the junior department at Cavendish Rd in August 1906, moving to the senior department in August 1907. There is no record of his leaving date. In 1911 he was still at school, aged 13, but was also working as an errand boy. His father was now described as a house plumber.

Robert became a lance corporal with the 11th Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers, service number 8132. He died on 21 October 1916 and is buried at the Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, Somme, grave reference II. B. 35. He is commemorated on the memorial at Cavendish Rd School.