Robert enlisted into the 1st Home Counties Divisional Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C., T.F. on 1st April 1908. He was 33 years and 11 months old; was a Cooper by trade; and was living at 3 Waghorn Road, Snodland at the time. On 6th March 1914 he gained promotion to the rank of Corporal. He became one of a quota of N.C.O.ís and men, known as 'Special Reserve', who previously agreed to serve overseas in the event of a war. On 6th August 1914, he transferred from the 1st Home Counties Field Ambulance to serve with the Expeditionary Force, and marched alongside Captain Greene, and the detachment, to a field adjoining Monocktonís Mill, Sandling Road, Maidstone, which had become the mobilization headquarters of No 10 Field Ambulance. On 17th August, during training, he was thrown from a wagon after a horse had bolted, causing him a fracture to his right leg. He was admitted into hospital in Canterbury until 18th October 1914. After his discharge he was assessed for overseas service but it was determined that his injury, a Pottís Fracture, had caused a very bad flat foot which had left him lame, and that he could only serve in the UK. He was posted to serve with No 11 Coy in Canterbury. He gained promotion to the rank of Acting Serjeant on 19th April 1917. On 9th September 1919 he was transferred to Class Z reserves, then was discharged from the Army on 31st March 1920.