He enlisted in London as a Sapper (Tunneller) with the 178th Company, Royal Engineers (Service No. 102813). He served in France and Flanders and was awarded the Victory, British War and 1915 Star medals. On 23rd Sept, 1915 he was slightly gassed and, after treatment, returned to duty only to be killed on 21st December 1915 at Becourt, Somme, France. He was buried at the Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, Somme, France (grave id. I.C.22). He is remembered on the Iwerne Minster War Memorial, Shaftesbury.
His wife received a widow's pension of £1.02p per week for herself and the three children. She continued to live in Elliston, according to the 1939 Register. Robert's brother George Frederick (b.1888) also served in the war, with the Royal Field Artillery.