Bob Wallace - a Linfield Giant - Volume 2 of 3

Posted : 10th May 2020 at 14:27:50

Earlier today published the first of 3 tribute articles to our 1921/22 Seven Trophy winning season captain, Bob Wallace.

Volume 2 which follows below features information largely relating to Bob’s military service in the First World War.

This information and all accompanying archive military records graphics are reproduced, as received, from Linfield’s military history expert, Johnny Jamison.

In volume 3 later today we will reproduce details of Bob’s playing career with Linfield, using as our source the treasure trove archive records of the former chairman the late David Crawford.

Bob Wallace was born in Greenock, Scotland on 20th January 1893 and died on 16th October 1970 (aged 77).

Bob Wallace began his senior football career with Abercorn, before joining Linfield in 1920, and he captained Linfield for three seasons, making five appearances for the Irish League side in representative matches between October 1921 and March 1923.

Described as a “sturdy, worrying type of player” he joined First Division Nottingham Forest in the close season of 1923, making his Football League debut at Everton the same August, and was an ever present for each of his first two seasons at The City Ground, becoming club captain. Despite their relegation in 1925, he remained at The City Ground until 1931, scoring twice in 269 appearances, before joining non league Burton Town in the summer of 1931.

Father Robert born approx. 1868 a sugar boiler by trade.

Mother Matilda / Matalda. born approx. 1871

Sisters. Margaret born approx. 1896, Agnes born approx. 1897, Jeannie born approx. 1899. Isabella born approx. 1901

Robert Stewart was the eldest born in 1893.

Died 16 October 1970 (aged 77) in Nottingham

Robert came over to Belfast at some point, probably around 1912 or 1913, as he gave his employer as Spence and Johnson of Linen hall Street, Belfast as a motor mechanic.

War broke out and he returned to Greenock, joining the army in Glasgow, with his residence given as 31 Ingleston Street, Greenock, Scotland.

Joined up 23rd September 1915 in Glasgow

On his attestation he said he had previously served in the Argyle and Sutherland highlanders. When he did this, is unclear.

Perhaps he spent his first few months with the Argyll’s before transferring to the Motor Transport RASC

Promoted to A/cpl - 18th June 1916

Promoted to corporal - 6th September 1916

Promoted to sergeant - 4th October 1916

Served at home from 23rd September 1915 until 23rd October 1915

Served overseas in Expeditionary force Mediterranean from 24th Oct 1915 with 595 company royal army service corps.

He landed in Egypt on 12th November 1915.

His regiment then moved to Salonika, Greece and it was in in this theatre of war that he served his entire service in WW1.

He applied for a pension due to malaria and dysentery which he contracted on 16th July 1918.

Salonika was a largely forgotten war, in part because there was relatively little fighting in the area and partly because the British had relatively few successes when they did engage the enemy. Centred on the Macedonia area of northern Greece, the main belligerents were Bulgaria, whose troops invaded Greece in 1915. Allied armies, under overall French command, included up to 400,000 British and Empire servicemen along with Greek and Serbian divisions.

Although the front was quiet for long stretches, the pervasive threat for the soldiers was malaria. The diseases were endemic amongst the British forces and it’s estimated the strike rate during 1916 was 300%, in other words every soldier in the British Salonika Army had three bouts of the disease in the course of the year.

It is now recognised that the main reason for this high infection rate was the use of quinine prophylaxis rather than physical prevention (mosquito nets etc). There were, however, a fair number of skirmishes and two main battles – both at Dorian – during 1917 and 1918, the latter leading to the rout and surrender of Bulgaria

Robert was discharged on 23rd May 1919

Robert was attached to

595 Motor Transport Company

Formed October 1915.

with the 17 Motor Ambulance convoy. Served in Salonika.

The ASC MT Motor Ambulance Convoy Companies were Specialised motorised transport used on the lines for evacuation of casualties.

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