Rifleman Robert Duffy was born to James and Eleanor (nee Walker) Duffy in 1839 on a farm in Bolton, Ontario. His father, James Duffy, was an Ensign who was called out on active service during the 1837 Rebellion serving with the 3rd Regiment of Gore Militia. Robert volunteered for active service with the Queen’s Own Rifles during the Fenian Raids of 1866 and served with number 2 Company during the Battle of Ridgeway on 2 June 1866 and remained on active duty until September of that year. Robert had two brothers that were called out June 1 for three weeks with the Albion Infantry Company during the same period.
After serving during the Fenian Raids, Robert appears to have taken ill and, according to the 2 Company Nominal Roll of January 1867, had left the city on sick leave 24 September 1866. There are no records of him after this date.
Due to being called-up in a hurry, the soldiers sent to repel the Fenian invasion were not well supplied, many took to drinking ditch water during the hot summer of 1866 and subsequently became ill from disease, many died of sickness. It is possible that Robert also died from a similar sickness.
Photo and information kindly provided by Robert’s Great Nephew Alan Duffy.