Robert Sumner was born on 30 July 1913 in Chorley. His father was Arnold Stanley Sumner (b. 1883 in Chorley), a pipe fitter. His mother was Mary Alice Mangnall (b. 1883 in Chorley). Arnold and Mary were married in 1910 and the following year they were registered as living at 18 Devonshire Road, Chorley, with Mary’s parents. Robert was born in 1913 and I don’t think he had any siblings.
On 12 January 1915, his father, Arnold (then aged 32) enlisted in the army and was posted to the Coldstream Guards. He landed in France on 15 August 1915. Arnold fought through the Battle of Loos in September 1915 and the Somme in 1916 (the Guards Division fought at the Battles of Flers-Courcelette and Morval). In 1917, the Guards Division was engaged in the pursuit of the Germans to the Hindenburg Line. Later that year, as the Guards prepared for their role in the Third Battle of Ypres, Arnold suffered a gunshot or shrapnel injury to the spine and was severely disabled (paraplegic). He was discharged on 26 July 1917. He made it home, but he died in 1928, aged 45.
By 1939, Mary Alice and Robert had moved to 5 Rosemead Avenue, Tardy Gate. Mary Alice was working in a respirator factory as a tape inspector; Robert was a wages clerk.
Robert enlisted as a marine in the Royal Marine Engineers. The Royal Marine Engineers were part the Royal Marine Division raised in 1940. They were originally designated 18 Battalion (Mobile) RM and received training in assault engineering and demolitions from the Royal Engineers with some men being trained as divers by the Royal Navy. The Division never saw combat as a unit, being constantly depleted of personnel for other duties. In 1943 the Royal Marine Division was disbanded and the engineers received commando training and a new name.
Robert died at Deal in Kent on 2 March 1943, aged 29. His death certificate states only that he died “due to war operations”.
Service Number: RME/13134
Unit/Regiment: Royal Marine Engineers
Date of death: 02/03/1943
Commemorated at: CHORLEY CEMETERY
Cemetery Reference: Sec. E. E. C. Grave 841.
Additional Information: Son of ArnoldSumner and of Mary Alice Sumner, of Lostock Hall.