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Person Details
Born on 16th August 1884, in Swayfield, Lincolnshire. Robert was one of eleven children, ten brothers - Mark, Edward, Sam, Ben, John, Frank (Francis), Luke, Matt, Job and one adopted sister - Charlotte. He was the son of Thomas Archer, a ‘common carrier’ and Susan Archer (nee Bullock). By 1901 Robert, aged 16 years, had moved away from home, working as a Cattle Boy for William Woodcock on a farm at Lyndhurst, Skegby near Mansfield, Notts. All of the employees on the farm, including Mr Woodcock had Lincolnshire birthplaces so perhaps it was this Lincolnshire connection that caused him to move to the Skegby area. Robert's parents were still living at Swayfield in 1901 and his father Thomas was now a farmer employing three of Robert's brothers as farm workers. Robert left a widow, Margaret Annie (nee Parkin) and two sons, Sam aged 8 and Percival aged 6 . Their baby daughter, named Sylvia had already died aged only one year and her death was registered in March 1915. Just a few short months after this terrible loss, Robert was in the KOYLI's training for trench warfare. After Robert's death, Margaret, tragically, later committed suicide by drowning in 1922/1923, unable to come to terms with her loss. The two boys were adopted by their Aunt Charlotte and moved back to Swayfield to live with her. Percival was put to work in a bread bake house but by 1926 had run away to Nottingham and later joined the RAF. His brother Sam died only two years later in 1928 at a relatively young age. Percival went on to attain the rank of Squadron Leader and after his RAF career, retired to Bollington, Cheshire with his wife Doris.
Railway plate layer
05 Jul 1916
773905 - CWGC Website
1/5th Bn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Robert Archer enlisted on 7th August 1915, at Doncaster, only nine days before his 31st birthday. He was sent to France on 19th March 1916 and killed in action, during the Somme Offensive only four months later, on Wednesday 5th July 1916, aged 32.
Remembered on


  • Photo Courtesy of Carol Taylor-Cockayne -