Robert Lyons fought against Napolean in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and lived to be 103 years old.
He was born in March 1799 in Birmingham, of Irish parentage. He joined the army at the early age of 15 and it is claimed that he was the last survivor of the Battle of Waterloo. After leaving the army, he settled in his native town, Birmingham, where he worked as a Puddler until he was 80. He then moved to Pendleton and was principally maintained by Booth Charity. However, he was able to gain a little extra money by donations elicited from anyone who would listen to his recital of various incidents in his life, and by his appearance at a nearby mill doorway on Saturday evenings. To those supporters he was a familiar figure for many years, his white locks and bent figure giving him an impressive appearance. He used to collect his Booth charity from Salford Town Hall, although the last time he was seen there was on 20th October 1901.
The Salford City Reporter of 22nd November 1902 records, "On Friday week (14th Nov) the death took place of the well known centenarian Robert Lyons. The deceased had been in his customer health up to the previous Wednesday, when he was seized with a fit of vomiting. Although he received every assistance from his medical attendant, Dr Tooner of Broad Street, Pendleton, the old man had reached such a state of exhaustion that recovery had become impossible. Death occurred at the deceased's lodgings, 28, Victoria Place, Tanner's Lane, Pendleton. Dr. Tooner said that up until his illness he was remarkably fit as he could see well, hear well, sleep well, eat well and drink well".
At first, there was difficulty with regard to Robert Lyons' funeral as he was not insured. His landlady Mrs Lancaster, was compelled to transfer his body to the public authority. However, upon hearing of this state of affairs, Councillor Simpson, Undertaker of Cross Lane, Salford, came forward and conducted the funeral at his own expense. He also communicated with the War Office with the result that Sergeant-Major Bathurst and Warrant Officer F. Cox of the Intelligence Department came to Salford and made arrangements for Robert Lyons to be buried with full military honours.
The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, 20th November and was witnessed by large crowds of people. The coffin was of walnut and it bore the inscription "Robert Lyons, died 14th November 1902 aged 103 years". It was placed on a gun carriage and was covered by the Union Jack. The cortege consisted of two carriages supplied by Cllr Simpson, one for Robert's friends and neighbours, and one for representatives of the Army Service Corps and the Royal Horse Artillery (U Battery). Bringing up the rear was a bugler in a Red Cross conveyance. The funeral was attended by Robert's son, his wife and their son from Bolton. Father Carruccio conducted the interment in plot K of the Roman Catholic portion of Weaste Cemetery and the bugler rendered the "Last Post". Wreaths were sent by Councillors Hampson and Cruikshank and a Mr Saunders. Mr Hall of Eccles New Road undertook to bear the cost of the inscription to be placed on the grave. However, today, there is no sign of a gravestone.