Robert F Kerr

Robert, with his three sisters and brother resided at Bridge Street Comber at the turn of the 19th century and like so many Comber men before and after, he excelled at sport. What makes Robert a little bit special was the variety of his sports and his excellence of achievement.

He was a champion cyclist and excelled in the various types of competition that this sport offered being an adept ‘pathman’ or road racer. He took part successfully in the Irish Road Club’s 100 mile races and was noted for his stamina, skill, grit and sportsmanship. He was also an excellent hockey player and was part of the North Down club’s inaugural team in 1896 where he played centre half. He was part of the side that won the prestigious Kirk Cup, played for Ulster on many occasions and won an international cap against Wales. He played for North Down from 1896 until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

North Down Hockey Club 1905/6 with Robert sitting second from the right

As a cricketer, he was an alert wicket keeper for the North Down 2nd XI, denied 1st XI status by the young DAH Milling who played for Ireland and for years he was identified with Distillery FC. Not surprisingly he was a very capable competitive swimmer and when war broke out his sports were abandoned and he signed up for the Royal Irish Rifles. It was at the front in France where he developed health issues that were to bring an end to any hope of resuming his sport .

Robert F Kerr brought sporting honours to our little town and fittingly he rests in Comber Cemetery.