7th August 1891 - 12th April 1917 (age 25)
18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars
Robert was born at Thirsk Union Workhouse, his mother Elizabeth Annakin was a domestic servant of Carlton Miniott. No father is shown on the birth certificate, and less than a year later, Elizabeth died at the age of 37. In 1901, Robert was recorded as the adopted son of James & Margaret Howlett, they were living at Stockton-on-Tees and had two other children of their own.
Margaret had lived in Main Street, Sowerby with her parents John and Maria Walker so it is possible she had somehow known Elizabeth Annakin. Robert started at Sowerby Junior School on 1st December 1897 and was readmitted on 15th October 1901. On both occasions, his father is shown as John Walker (Guardian) and his date of birth 12th September 1891 which differs from the birth certificate by over a month. It is possible that he moved between Stockton and Sowerby, living at times with both his adoptive mother Margaret, and her father John Walker. By 1911, Robert now aged 19 was working as a blacksmith and boarding in Sowerby with John Swales a retired farmer. Although residing in London at the time, Robert enlisted into the Army at Thirsk. He went overseas with the 18th Hussars on 18th May 1915 and he was killed in action on 12th April 1917. The war diaries show the 18th Hussars to be a dismounted cavalry division (there having been little opportunity to make successful mounted attacks in the war) and there was nothing reported for that date. His grave can be found at Canadian Cemetery No.2, Neuville-St-Vaast plot 3.A.19, France. This cemetery was established by the Canadian Corps after the successful storming of Vimy Ridge on 9th April 1917.
Sadly the medal roll records that a decision was needed regarding the disposal of Robert's medals in April 1923 implying that no next of kin had volunteered to receive them.
Robert Annakin's grave (2nd from right) in September 2000
The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.
Information about Robert William Annakin on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Information about Robert William Annakin on the War Graves Photographic Project website
Part of the St Oswald's Church website