Robert Jocelyn, 10th Earl of Roden (b. 1938)
7.0015.00 Select options

Robert Jocelyn, 10th Earl of Roden (b. 1938)


Want unlimited access to the Irish Life and Lore Oral History Archive? Subscribe by purchasing Gold Subscription, Silver Subscription or Bronze Subscription!

Track 1: The Jocelyn family arrived in Ireland in the early 18th century. Dundalk, Co. Louth was where the family lived until they moved to Tollymore Park, Co. Down. Robert recalls his grandfather, Robert Soame Jocelyn, 8th Earl of Roden, (above right) who served in the North Irish Horse in WWI. He was in the battle of Mons and was invalided out through illness in 1916. He returned to the regimental headquarters in the north of Ireland and Robert describes his role from that time onwards. Robert’s father, Robert William Jocelyn (later 9th Earl) served in the Royal Navy, having joined just after WWI. He captained destroyers through WWII and saw action in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Far East, the Indian Ocean and also in the Japanese war. Engagements included the hunting of the German battleship Bismarck. He was mentioned in dispatches and continued to serve after the war. His brother, John Jocelyn, was a midshipman who was killed, aged just seventeen, in a torpedo attack while serving on HMS Barham in the Mediterranean in 1941. Robert describes the life of a destroyer captain as a lonely posting, unlike that of the captain on other naval vessels where a camaraderie exists with other officers. Track 2: Robert recalls that his grandfather was in his thirties when he went to war, which probably contributed to his ill-health. As to his father, he was a professional sailor and when war came he was already part of the operation. Naval men were accustomed to being away from home, even in peacetime. Robert explains that his mother was Clodagh Kennedy from Bishopscourt, Co. Kildare. He discusses his grandfather’s and his father’s medals, which are an important part of the family heritage and he speaks about the possibly greater justification for the second war in comparison to the first. His maternal uncle, John Kennedy, was killed in WWII and his biography, ‘Major D. M. (John) Kennedy M.C.: A Tribute’, was written by Robert. He discusses books about WWI which describe how Europe descended into war after a period of relative peace. He considers that there was a great deal of respect in Co. Down for people who had fought in both wars, likewise in Kildare, particularly from those who had soldiered with his uncle. Certainly after WWI, and during the 1920s, he considers that the question of involvement in the war was neglected, but not so in WWII when people were recruited right across the island. He feels that those people are being given due recognition today. Track 3: Robert considers the family title as part of the family heritage and he explains that the family tree can be traced back to France in the 13th century. He feels that he is custodian of the family history, artefacts and papers to ensure their passage from one generation to the next. He recalls that the house at Tollymore Park had been attacked by the IRA in the 1920s but was successfully defended and was later sold in 1941, along with most of the contents. The house was demolished in 1953. Robert has written about the Tollymore estate in his book, ‘Tollymore: the story of an Irish demesne’. His father’s political views and his alignment with the Alliance party in Northern Ireland are discussed. Following his retirement, his father did some farming and was also involved in many of the youth movements in Northern Ireland. Robert explains that owing to his father’s naval career, he saw him only when he was on shore leave during his early childhood. Track 4: He considers that his father was fortunate to survive the war at sea, and he details some of the ships on which he served, including HMS Quality in the war in Japan and HMS Panther which was sunk in the Mediterranean. Robert did not really know his grandfather, but as a small boy he remembers him as austere. After his father’s retirement from his naval career, Robert remarks that he was able to get to know him quite well.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

6.94 MB, 8.66 MB, 9.67 MB, 8 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Robert Jocelyn, father and son

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore