by Helen Moon
Throughout the project that led to the creation of the ‘Making Woolwich’ exhibition, people shared the stories of their family members who have served in the Royal Regiment of Artillery with us. We will be sharing these as a series of blogs.
Robert Venables was born in Staffordshire. He was a tradesman specialising in making saddles and harnesses for horses. In 1916, he joined the Royal Artillery as a Driver. He was posted to France during the First World War where he was a casualty of a gas attack. Among other medals, Robert was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.
Discharged from his war duties on 24th August 1919, Robert chose to enlist with the Royal Corps of Signals. In 1924, he was appointed as Saddler, a job that involved the repair and adjustment of each saddle so it was comfortable for both horse and rider.
During the Second World War, Robert defended the borough on the home front as a fire warden based in Plumstead. He continued his ties with the Royal Artillery and his trade, working as a saddler and leather-maker until the mid-1950s.
Robert’s funeral service was held at the Garrison church and it was marked with the playing of the Last Post. He is buried in Woolwich Cemetery.
With thanks to Charlton resident Ms Carol Kenna for sharing her grandfather Robert’s story with us. If you want to discover more about your family, the Search Room at Greenwich Heritage Centre has a range of resources and staff expertise there to assist you
If you have a story that you would like to share with us, comment below or contact Greenwich Heritage Centre on 020 8854 2452.