Lieutenant Robert Newport Dobbyn
Robert Newport Dobbyn, known to his family and friends as Robin, was the only son of Waterford solicitor Robert Dobbyn and his wife Annette. The 1911 census records show that Robert resided at 11 Ballinakill House, along with his two sisters, Mary and Iris. The Dobbyn’s were a prominent Waterford family; who had lived in Ballinakill House, overlooking Waterford Harbour, for several generations.
Educated at Clifton College in Bristol, Robert was one of many of that generation to be swept along by the tide of war. In December 1914 he joined the University and Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers as a private, later serving in the trenches. However, in August 1916 he took a commission and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.
Tragically, Lieutenant Dobbyn would die on a solo training flight on 23rd of November 1916. After taking off from Hounslow Heath Aerodrome in Middlesex, his plane immediately encountered difficulties and went into a nose dive. Several officers also witnessed the crash but their valiant efforts to extricate Robert from the burning wreckage proved unsuccessful, and he died upon admission to hospital.
Robert’s funeral was well attended, not only showcasing his popularity, but the standing of the Dobbyn family in the Waterford. He was buried with full military honours in a private graveyard attached to the family home at Ballinakill House.
To mark the centenary of his death his grave was adorned with floral tributes on Wednesday 23rd of November 2016. Like so many of that generation, Robert’s story is worthy of continued recognition.