Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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Robert Hayward Down

 
 
 

Lieutenant Robert Hayward Down - Died of wounds 17th August 1916 - Gloucestershire Regiment 1/4th Bn Wounded on the 16th in the attack on Pozieres Ridge. 'A' company. Aged 27. Son of Henry and Grace Down, of Woburn Sands, Beds. Husband of Gladys, of Clifton, Bristol. Buried at Puchewillers British Cemetery, Somme.

Above photograph of Robert Down from the Lloyds Bank Memorial Album.

Doctor John Langford Down, was the uncle of Henry Down, Robert Hayward Down's father. Doctor Langford Down had founded a hospital in Hampton Wick in London in 1868 called Normansfield. He also became Fellow of the Royal College of Physcians and consultant physiscian to several London hospitals.
I the 1960's, when the World Health Organisation wanted to replace the term 'mongol', which Dr Langford Down had designated, for a term more suitable, they chose Down's Syndrome to honour the good doctor and his work.

Above his Great Uncle, Doctor John Langford Down
 
Bristol Evening News Wednesday 23.08.1916. Lieutenant R H Down Photograph.

Having joined the Gloucestershire Regiment 1/4 th Battalion in August 1914, he was part of the attack on Pozières Ridge, a subsidiary attack of the Somme offensive. The battle was launched on 23 rd July 1916 and saw the Australians and British fight hard for an area that provided a first rate observation post over the surrounding countryside, as well as the additional benefit of offering an alternative approach to the rear of the Thiepval defences.

The attack on Pozières Ridge lasted from 23 rd July to 3 rd September 1916. The village of Pozières itself was captured on 25 th July, but it was the Australian Divisions that were instrumental in taking it. The 1/4, 1/5 and 1/6 th Glosters were in the same Division (the 48 th ) attacking on this sector, although they actually occupied the line running a little to the north-west of Ovilliers at this stage of the Battle of the Somme. By 17 th August, the day Down died, the fighting had reached the area around Mouquet Farm, known to the British as 'Mucky Farm', a powerful German stronghold. The Germans counter-attacked in this area on the 18th, causing many casualties before being repulsed. Down was killed in the artillery bombardment preceding the German attack.

Above what was left of Mouquet Farm in October 1916

Died of wounds whilst serving in France. He was the youngest son of the late Mr H Down (Bournemouth) Married less than 18 months, only daughter of Mr H R Wansborough. The gallant officer was educated at Bedford. At the outbreak of the War was manager of Lloyds Bank, Westbury-on-Trym

Above Lloyds Bank, Westbury-on-Trym 2006.

He joined the Gloucester Regiment before month of August. Won commission in February 1915. Left wife with young child.

Above the memorial to Lloyds Bank employees that died in World War 1 which was in the entrance hall to the old Lloyds Bank Headquarters on Lombard Street in the City of London. Now in the new Bank Headquarters, Canon's House.