Uncle Bobby was a member of the family when I was growing up. Yet, although often spoken of, no one I knew had met him. He was my Mother’s uncle, my Grandmother’s brother-in-law, but he was dead before Granny met his brother, her future husband.
Robert Moffat joined a Special Reserve battalion of the Royal Scots in early 1914 at the age of seventeen. He turned eighteen in Flanders and died of wounds before the year was out; he was buried at Boulogne. The contents of the photograph below are all that we have of him.
The plaque was sent to the family. It reads: ‘He Died For Freedom and Honour’. For as long as I can remember, it was among the ornaments around the fire place, the pre-television focal point of the room, first in Granny’s house, then in my parent’s. Uncle Bobby was always with us. Now, the plaque is on my desk.
The photograph is the only likeness we have of him. He is in the insert, or, per the composition, the thoughts of his sister, my Mother’s Auntie Bella (Isabella).
Robert’s older brother, John, was my maternal Grandfather. I never met him: he died in 1944, when my Mother was ten. A piper in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), he made it through the War; but from what my Grandmother said, he struggled with survivor guilt over the loss of his wee brother.