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Robert Lambart Dunville (1893-1931)
Chairman of Dunville & Co. Ltd.

Published in the 'Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook. Easter, 1916.' compiled by the "Weekly Irish Times," Dublin.
Robert Dunville's testimony at the Court Martial held on 9 June 1916, of four men accused of killing a police constable and attempting to kill a military officer, on 24 April 1916, during the Easter Rising.


Second Lieutenant Robert Dunville, of the Grenadier Guards, said he was travelling by motor car from Belfast to Kingstown on Easter Monday, accompanied by his chauffeur. They arrived at Castlebellingham about ten minutes to seven. When he entered the village he saw three policemen on the left hand side of the road near the railings. He also saw a considerable number of men in motor cars, and some on the road — all armed, some with revolvers, some had automatic pistols, others carbines and ordinary rifles. As he could not get through he pulled his car up, and a man whom he identified as the accused, Leahy, came up and pointed a rifle at him. Then McEntee came up and presented a pistol at him. Witness asked them what it was all about, told him that he wanted to catch the boat from Kingstown, and to let him pass. His chauffeur and himself were placed with the police at the railings. Then a man got out of one of the cars, and aimed a long rifle at him. He heard a report, and somebody at his right hand side shouted, and he found that he himself had been shot; that the bullet passed through his breast from left to right. He saw a rifle still pointed at him after he was hit. After that he fell, and he was removed to his car. Besides McEntee, who seemed to be in command, he saw Leahy and Martin. He could recognise the man who pointed the long rifle, but he was not one of the accused.

Dr. Patrick J. O'Hagan, Castlebellingham, described the nature of Constable McGee's injuries. He was suffering from four bullet wounds, two in the left arm, and two in the body. Witness was present at the post-mortem and attributed death to shock and hemorrhage, resulting from bullet wounds. Witness also attended Lieutenant Dunville, and found two wounds on the chest, one on the left, being apparently the wound of entry.

Published in The Times, 10 April 1918



The marriage of Mr. Robert Lambart Dunville, Grenadier Guards, eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Dunville, Royal Air Force, and Mrs. Dunville, of 46, Portland-place, W., and Miss Winifred Phyllis Combe, elder daughter of Captain Christian and Lady Jane Combe, of 45, Belgrave-square, S.W., and Strathconan, Muir of Ord, was solemnized yesterday at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks. The Rev. E. N. Sharpe, rector of Holy Trinity, Marylebone, officiated, assisted by the Rev. M. E. Bisset, Chaplain to the Brigade of Guards.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a draped gown of white charmeuse, bordered with orange blossom, a train of charmeuse, veiled with old lace and lined with sea blue, an old lace veil, held with a coronet of myrtle leaves studded with stephanotis blossoms, and carried a sheaf of Harrissii lilies. She was attended by Miss Jean Combe, Miss Kitty Combe, Lady Betty Butler, Lady Helen Ballie-Hamilton, and Miss Joan Astley, who wore dresses of yellow satin veiled in georgette, with satin sashes, and gold net veils with wreaths of coloured silk flowers. They carried bouquets of tulips and daffodils. The bridegroom's gift to each was a white moire wristlet with diamond initials. Captain T. R. Symonds, Grenadier Guards, was best man.

Among those present were:—
Lady Jane Combe, Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs. John Dunville, Mr. W. G. Dunville, Lady Blanche Conyngham, Lady Constance Combe, the Hon. Mrs. Frances Needham, Mrs. Soames, Mrs. Nugent, Miss Combe, Captain F. W. and Lady Maud Ramsden, Mr. Charles Ramsden, Colonel the Hon. Claud and Lady Florence Willoughby, Lady Blanche Seymour, Lady Edina Ainsworth, the Earl and Countess of Lanesborough, Mrs. Boyce Combe, Lady St. Oswald and the Hon. Mrs. Westmacott, Lady De Ramsey and Miss Diana Fellowes, the Hon. Mrs. Ferdinand Stanley, Master Fred and Master John Stanley, Sir Francis and Lady Gertrude Astley Corbett, the Earl of Eldon, Colonel Lord Francis Scott. Viscountess Massereene and Ferrard, Viscountess Churchill and the Hon. Ivy and the Hon. Ursula Churchill, Lady Constance Gore and Miss Gore, Colonel Sir Theodore and Lady Brinckman, the Hon. Harriet Phipps, Mrs. Douglas Gordon, the Hon. Mrs. Leigh, the Hon. Mrs. Vandeleur, Captain and Mrs. Boyce, General Sir Albert Williams, Lord Somerleyton, Miss Monica Marjoribanks, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Vyne, the Hon. Mrs. George Butler, Lady Holford, Lady Esme Gordon-Lennox, the Hon. Lady Bingham, Lady Rodney, the Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Ellis and Mrs. Critchley Salmondson, the Hon. C. Winn, Colonel Grenfell, and Major Rocke.

A guard of honour was furnished by a detachment of the Grenadier Guards, who formed an archway with Lewis guns as the bride and bridegroom left the chapel.

Published in The Times, 22 May 1920



(Before Mr. Justice Horridge)

In this suit Winifred Phyllis Dunville, whose maiden name was Combe, prayed for a decree of restitution of conjugal rights against Robert Lambart Dunville.

The petitioner, examined by the Hon. Victor Russell, said that she was married to her husband at the Royal Military Chapel, Wellington Barracks, on April 9, 1918, and they lived together in Belgrave-square and at other places, and there was one child, born on September 18, 1919. Early in that year she told her husband that she was going to have a child, and from this time he began to neglect her and to stay away from home. The night that the child was born was the last time that he had slept at home. On January 16 last she wrote to him:—

Chapel-street. Belgrave-square.
Dear Bobby,—It is hardly two years since we were married and for a long time now you have left me alone here to look after myself and baby. It is nearby four months (September 18) since you have stayed in the house and I cannot go on like this. I have always done my best to make you happy. Will you come back and live with me again and be as you were when we began life together? For my part, I am willing to do all I can to make you happy here.—Your affectionate wife, Phyllis.

On January 19 he wrote:—

Dear Phyllis,—I have your letter of the 16th inst. asking me to come back and live with you. I have given your letter my most careful consideration and though, for the sake of the baby, I much regret the decision I have come to, I cannot accede to your request to return to Chapel-street and live with you. As you know, I have no quarrel with you whatever, but for my part I feel it is impossible to live again man and wife.—Yours, Bobby.

Her husband had not since returned to her and he was now in Ireland

Mr. Justice Horridge pronounced a decree of restitution of conjugal rights, with costs, to be obeyed within 21 days after service.

Solicitors.—Messrs. Radcliffes and Hood.

Published in The Times, 22 September 1920



Robert Lambert Dunville (27), described as a former acting captain in the Grenadier Guards, residing at Portland-place, W., was charged on remand before Mr. Leycester, at the Marylebone Police Court, with being drunk while in charge of a motor-car, and assaulting Police-Sergeant Collins. Mr. Huntly Jenkins defended; Mr. E. D. Knight prosecuted for the Commissioner of Police.

It was alleged that at 1.45 a.m. on Sunday, September 5, the accused drove zigzag and on the wrong side of the road along the High-street, Marylebone at a rather fast speed, his tail light being out. When spoken to by Police-Sergeant Collins he staggered to the footway, saying "I'll show you who I am. I'm Captain Dunville of the Guards. Salute me! Salute me!" Because he refused, the sergeant said the accused struck him in the chest. He was arrested, and on being charged he shrugged his shoulders and remarked "Nonsense."

Dr. Brown, who examined him, would not say that he was drunk, but that he was not fit to be in charge of a car, particularly at night.

Counsel mentioned that the accused had gone through the terrible ordeal of being put up against a wall by Sinn Feiners, shot at, and left for dead; and he suggested that would upset the nervous system. The doctor agreed.

Inspector White said that at the police station the accused called out, "Let's all laugh. Don't be so damn serious," and admitted that he had had three whiskies and sodas, two drops of port, and two of chartreuse.

Dr. Thomas J. Crean, V.C., D.S.O., physician, called for the defence, said that the accused had developed nervous symptoms, but he had never seen him the worse for drink.

The accused man stated that he was educated at Eton. He denied that he was in the least drunk as a result of the whisky and soda, two small glasses of port, and two small glasses of chartreuse which he had at dinner with a lady friend, or of the two small whiskies which he had at the lady's flat in Northumberland-street, W. He also denied that he assaulted the sergeant or told him to salute him. Referring to the shooting incident in Ireland, he said he was taken out of his motor-car while riding into Dublin through a village that had been held up by Sinn Feiners. They placed him against some railings by the side of a policeman, and both of them were shot at. The policeman fell dead, and he himself was left for dead, but recovered.

Sir Alfred Fripp said he had seen the accused behave in his own home in such an intolerable way that even a skilled doctor would have serious suspicion that he was drunk.

Mr. Leycester acquitted the accused man on both charges, and he was discharged.

Published in The Times, 21 January 1921



(Before Mr. Justice Horridge.)

In this undefended suit, Mrs. Winifred Phyllis Dunville, whose maiden name was Combe, of Chapel-street, Belgrave-square, prayed for the dissolution of her marriage with Robert Lambart Dunville, formerly an officer in the Army, on the ground of his statutory desertion and adultery.

The petitioner, examined by the Hon. Victor Russell, said that she was married to the respondent on April 9, 1918, at the Royal Military Chapel, Wellington Barracks. They lived together in Belgrave-square, and there was one child born on September 18, 1919.

On January 23, 1920, she filed a petition for restitution of conjugal rights, and a decree was pronounced on May 21 last with which her husband had not complied.

Evidence was given that the respondent from March, 1919, to June, 1920, lived at a flat at Albert-mansions, Northumberland-street, with a woman named Evelyn Redfern.

Mr. Russell.—I can prove the birth of a child at that address in February, 1920.

Mr. Justice Horridge.—I am satisfied; there will be a decree nisi, with costs and custody.

Solicitors.—Messrs. Radcliffes and Hood.

Published in The Times, 28 April 1922



The marriage took place yesterday at the Chapel Royal, Savoy, of the Hon. Francis N. Curzon, of 11, Mount-street and Hamilton House, Newmarket, second surviving son of the late Lord Scarsdale, and Phyllis (Mrs. R. L. Dunville), elder daughter of Captain Christian and Lady Jane Seymour Combe, of 46, Belgrave-square, S.W.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a gown of gold lace over satin, with pale gold shoulder draperies of chiffon and a short pointed train, and a coronet of soft gold velvet leaves. She carried a bouquet of red roses. The Rev. Hugh Chapman officiated, and Colonel the Hon. Arthur Brodrick was best man.

A reception was held by the bride's parents at 46, Belgrave-square. The honeymoon will be spent at Hamilton House, Newmarket. The following, among others, were present in the church:—

Viscountess Churchill, the Hon. Victor Spencer. the Hon. Mrs. Brassey, the Hon. Ursula Spencer, Mr. Oswald Mosley, M.P., and Lady Cynthia Mosley, Lady Alexandra Curzon, Lady Blanche Conyngham, Lady Florence Willoughby, Lady Constance Hatch, Lady Jane Seymour, Lady Sheila Scott, Major and Lady Moira Combe, the Hon. Assheton Curzon, the Hon. Elinor and the Hon. Blanche Curzon, the Hon. Mrs. William West, the Hon. Mrs. MacMichael and the Misses MacMichael, the Hon. Mrs. Townshend and Miss Townshend, Rear-Admiral and Mrs. Drury-Lowe, Mr. and Mrs. Bourne Wheeler, Mr. Richard Curzon, Mr. Oswald Magniac, Major and Mrs. Ambrose Dudley, Mr. Charles Hill Tevor, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Tilney. Marquess and Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston were unavoidably prevented by illness from being present.

Published in The Times, 31 May 1926



The weather was anything but favourable for the competitors in the race for the Second Gordon-Bennett Cup, which began to-day at Wilryck, near Antwerp. The race has this year attracted entrants from Italy, Spain, America, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, and Belgium. Unfortunately for Mr. G. F. Meager, a British competitor, the envelope of his balloon, the "Bee," burst during inflation. A new envelope was, however, procured in Brussels, and, although rather old and of inferior quality, it was inflated without difficulty. Mr. R. L. Dunville, another British competitor, had been indisposed for several days and was unable to start. He was replaced by Mr. Spencer.

Rain has fallen almost incessantly throughout the day, and a strong south-west wind, which has blown all the afternoon, suggests that the balloons will be carried towards Scandinavia. It is difficult to give any precise forecast.

The "Lilliput," which, with a capacity of 170 cubic metres and inflated with hydrogen, is the smallest balloon in the race, left at 4.15 p.m., piloted by Dolffus. The next to leave was the Italian "Aerostiero III.," carrying Lieutenant Pirazzoli and Lieutenant Pisani. Then followed the "Prince Leopold" (Belgium). At 4.40 p.m. the "Capitain Penaranda" (Spain) managed to rise, but, owing to an overload, it only attained a low altitude. It was followed at varying intervals by "Goodyear III." (America), "Picardie" (France), "Helvetia" (Switzerland), and "Ciampino III." (Italy). The strong wind had not helped to lighten the task of getting away, but at the same time it caused no appreciable delay. The "Belgica" (Belgium) left at 5.24 p.m., and the "Bee" (Great Britain) at 5.38 p.m.

The next two to leave were the "Army S.16" (America) and the "Miramar" (Great Britain). The latter grazed the trees on the fortifications in ascending, but by dropping of ballast was able to rise. Simultaneously the envelope of the French balloon "Vieilles Tiges" came to grief. Cormier, pilot of "Anjou IV." also a French balloon, was compelled to deflate at 6.30 owing to broken rigging. The Italian "Ciampino IV." having followed the "Miramar," the next to leave were "Aerostiers I." (Belgium) and "Akron" (America). Finally, the "Banshee" (Great Britain) attempted to rise, but was too heavy and had to descend again. Several bags of ballast were removed and the balloon made a successful ascent.

Published in The Times, 21 June 1927


DUNVILLE:SHAW.—On June 18, 1927, In London, Robert Lambart Dunville, son of Wing-Commander and Mrs. Dunville, of Redburn, Belfast, to Kathleen Kirkpatrick Shaw, daughter of Mr. Justice Morice and Mrs. Morice, late of High Court, Pretoria.

Published in The Times, London, 12 January 1931


On the 10th January 1931, at Johannesburg suddenly of heart failure Robert Lambart son of the late Wing Commander John Dunville, C.B.E. and Mrs. Dunville, of Redburn, Holywood Co. Down N. Ireland and 76 Portland Place, W. London.

Mr. R.L. Dunville

News has been received of the sudden death at Johannesburg of Mr. Robert Lambart Dunville, chairman of the distilling firm of Dunville & Co. Ltd., Belfast. Mr. Dunville was born in 1892, son of Lieutenant Colonel J.D. Dunville of Holywood Co. Down, and educated at Eton where he was in Mr. Philip Williams' and later Mr. Edward Slater's house. He joined the Grenadier Guards with whom he was serving in 1916 when the rebellion broke out in Dublin. Hurrying to join his regiment he was captured by republicans at Castlebellingham, Co. Louth. Despite the evidence to the contrary they persisted in regarding him as a spy, and placing him against a wall, shot him leaving him for dead. He was badly wounded in the chest and never fully recovered. A lover of all animals Mr. Dunville kept an extensive private zoological garden at his home at Holywood, the animals being gathered from all quarters of the globe. He was for some years Master of the County Down Staghounds. His younger brother Lieutenant John Spencer Dunville won the V.C. while serving with the 1st Royal Dragoons at Épehy in 1917, being later killed in action.

Published in the Northern Whig and Belfast Post, Belfast, 12 January 1931

Dunville:- Jan 10th 1931 at Carltonion, South Africa, Robert Lambart Dunville, of Redburn Holywood Co. Down, eldest son of Wing Commander John Dunville Dunville D.L. and Mrs. Dunville of Portland Place, London.



We regret to announce the death which occurred suddenly at Johannesburg, South Africa of Mr. Robt L. Dunville of Redburn Holywood, chairman of the world famous distilling firm of Dunville and Co. Ltd., Belfast. A cablegram containing the sad news of his death at the early age of 38 years was received in Belfast on Saturday.

Mr. Dunville left Belfast some time ago on an extensive tour, which was to have included South Africa and Australia. He was accompanied by Mrs. Dunville, who is a daughter of Mr. Justice Shaw, a retired judge of the South African High Court, and Mr. J.C. Brounregg of Holywood.

The party recently arrived at Capetown where a brief stay was made, and it was while on a visit to his father-in-law's residence at Johannesburg that Mr. Dunville's illness developed.

The eldest son of the late Mr. John Dunville D.L. was born in 1893, educated at Eton and served during the Great War with the Grenadier Guards being promoted to the rank of Captain. A younger brother Lieut. John Spencer Dunville was killed during the war, won the V.C. while serving with the 1st Royal Dragoons at Épehy on June 1917. Mr. W.G. Dunville his sole surviving brother is resident in Australia.


The late Mr. R.L. Dunville was keenly interested in all forms of sport and when Major Daniel Dixon relinquished the position of master of the County Down Staghounds, Mr. Dunville was unanimously chosen as his successor, retaining the position during the years 1926 and 1927. His first season was most successful and on his marriage he was presented with a beautiful silver salver by the members of the Hunt. Mrs. Dunville being made recipient of a handsome dressing set.

Mr. Dunville's death removes one of the best known figures in sporting and social circles not only in Ulster but throughout the country, and the news of his passing has evoked widespread regret. It is less than a year ago that he succeeded his father, the late Mr. John Dunville in the chairmanship of Dunville & Co. Ltd. and in business circles his demise will be sincerely mourned.

A thrilling experience which befell him during the rebellion of 1916 may be recalled. He was on his way to Dublin to take up duty and had reached Castlebellingham when he was captured by a band of rebels, who placed him against a wall and shot him in the chest. He was severely wounded and never quite recovered from the effects of his injury.

Interested in zoology Mr. Dunville maintained a private zoo at his extensive grounds at Holywood, and included wild animals from almost every part of the world. Possessed of remarkable business abilities the Company has during his short reign as chairman extended in many respects, and a notable example of the esteem in which he was held was afforded when a deputation from the South-West Trade Protection Association attended the London office of Messrs Dunville & Co. in Aug 1828 and presented Mr. Dunville with a silver salver bearing his name and inscribed "In grateful recognition of his valuable services as president at the annual festival 6th Feb 1928."

Mr. Dunville was a member of Whites' Club and the Ulster Club. In addition to his fine residence at Redburn he also owned one at Navan, Co. Meath (Beau Park) where he was popular with all classes of the community.

Published in the Belfast Telegraph, 10 January 1931

We deeply regret to announce that Mr. Robert L. Dunville the chairman of Messrs Dunville & Co. the Belfast Distillers, whose home is at Redburn Holywood has died suddenly at Johannesburg which he was visiting on an extensive tour. A cablegram was received in Belfast today announcing his death, which has taken place at the early age of 38.

(Information same as The Times, London and the Northern Whig and Belfast Post, except for the following extract)


A pathetic feature of his tragically sudden death is the fact that Mr. Dunville intended to pay a visit to his only surviving brother Mr. W.G. Dunville who is living in Australia. The Head Office of Dunville and Co. in Belfast and also the London Office will be closed on Monday as a mark of sympathy.

See also:

Robert Lambart Dumville (1893-1931) Shot at Castlebellingham on 24th April 1916

William Dunvill (c1740-1793): The Distillery Line of the Dunvilles

The Dunvilles of Northern Ireland and Dunville's Whisky

Col. John Dunville Dunville, CBE, DL (1866-1929): The Famous Belfast Balloonist

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