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  • Photo David Nunn by courtesy of Pauline Armstrong from Nottinghamshire Law Society.
Person Details
14 Sep 1888
Retford Nottinghamshire
John was born in 1888 the son of Augusta Julia Robinson and the brother of Beatrice May Robinson of Forest View, Westfield, Retford Nottinghamshire. By 1911 census the family are living at ‘Forest View’, 119 Queen Street, Retford. John is by now 22 years of age and single and a solicitors articled clerk.
He was educated at Retford Grammar School, Nottingham High School and Queen's College Cambridge where he graduated BA in 1910 and MA in 1914. He was articled to WH Clay of Retford in 1910 and admitted to the Bar in 1913. He then became a partner in the firm of Clay and Robinson.
30 Nov 1917
29
1756332 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
2/6th Bn South Staffordshire Regiment
He was attached from 4th Bn Somerset Light Infantry The 2/6th North Staffords War Diary records, “28 November 1918 - The battalion takes over the front line system in Bourlon Wood relieving 1st Welsh Guards. 29 November 1917 - Our position heavily shelled by the enemy. 30 November 1917 - The battalion again heavily shelled especially “D” Company when casualties were very heavy. In this bombardment the enemy used shrapnel and gas shells and although heavy casualties the battalion held the line.” One must presume that Robinson was killed during this bombardment. 50 men from his battalion were, apparently. The War Diary of the 2/6th South Staffords from the same time and in the same area gives a vivid account of what the few days spent in Bourlon Wood were like. “On the morning of November 27th sudden orders were received to move within half an hour, the route being through Gouzeaucourt, Villiers Plouich to Ribecourt, and along a road packed with military traffic of all sorts. On November 28th news of difficulty in progress was received, and there was a check on the forward movement. A party from each Company went forward to learn the lie of the land and the scene of operations, and saw every sign of a coming battle on a big scale. Notably there were the Tanks. The particular locality from the Battalion’s point of view was Bourlon Wood, where Battalion Hqrs. were situated in a big and deep dug-out. The wood was crowded with British troops—guardsmen, dismounted cavalry, Londoners, North-countrymen and Staffordshire Midlanders. The Battalion arrived in the midst of a formidable shelling, its CO. then being Lieut.-Col. Stuart Wortley and its Company Commanders Captain Yeatman (” A “), Lieut. Astbury (” B “), Captain Sheppard (” C “), and Captain A. F. Brown (” D “). Shelling continued and casualties, now begun, did not cease. The air became heavy with gas, and there was no wind to scatter it. It was a crowded area, extremely inconvenient and poisonous. If the shelling diminished with the dawn, the obsession of enemy ‘planes took its place, the ‘planes flying low and reconnoitring for a purpose it was not possible to doubt. And with the dusk the intensity of the shelling was renewed and increased, the range being even more accurate than before on account of the reconnaissance. An endless stream of casualties poured from the wood, looming a dark and formidable mass in the night. Incessant gas-shells made the ubiquitous poison deadly, The defenders of the place were blind and vomiting long before the attack ahead developed. The serious and critical nature of the attack was evident from the appalling noise and energy of our own bombardment. It was on the morning of November 30th that the impact came. If it had reached our men in the wood, the mustard gas would have destroyed all power of resistance. As it was, the front line held and there were still some remnants of our unit for the 2/4th Lincolns to relieve on Saturday, December 1st. But the casualties had been devastating. Particular mention should be made of Captain Atkinson, who, returning from leave on the evening of the 30th, refused to avail himself of the usual boon of staying in the transport lines over-night, and preferred to return at once to his men, and so went voluntarily to his death. Of the five hundred or six hundred men of the Battalion who marched into Bourlon Wood, less than one hundred marched out. The stretcher-bearers had over half a mile to travel with their burdens, and yet they excelled themselves in their effort and achievement, as is authoritatively recorded. Of those who had to make their own way on foot, the picture of those strings of blind men, led by one who could see, and each with a hand on the other’s shoulder, is never to be forgotten. Such, indeed, was the havoc wrought by the poison gas, that what was left of the Battalion had to be withdrawn for a period of six weeks, to recover some measure of physical fitness.” The South Staffs lost 350 casualties, the North Staffs 318. Research Simon Williams Lieutenant J. H. Robinson Worksop Guardian 14 December 1917 A telegram has been received from the War Department, announcing the death in action of Second Lieutenant J. H. Robinson, of the 4th Battalion Light Infantry; Lieutenant Robinson was the only son of the late Mr. J. H. Robinson, a well known and highly respected Retford Solicitor, and of Mrs. G. H. Robinson, Queen Street. He was educated at the Retford Grammar School. The Nottingham High School, and Queen’s College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1910, and M.A. in 1914. On leaving Cambridge, Lieutenant Robinson was articled to Mr. S.H.Clay, solicitor. He passed his Final Law Examination in 1913, and shortly after joined Mr. Clay in partnership. At the out break of the Great War Mr. Robinson was one of the first to volunteer for Military Service. He made more than one attempt to join the Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers; but was rejected on account of his eyesight. He then joined the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry as a Trooper; being subsequently promoted Lance Corporal, and engaged as a motor cyclist dispatch rider. In 1916, Mr. Robinson joined an Officers Cadet Battalion at Newmarket, and in January of the present year was gazetted to a Second Lieutenancy in the 4th Somerset Light Infantry, then stationed at Bournemouth. Almost immediately after he was sent to France, attached to the 2/6th North Staffordshire Regiment, and, with the exception of a few days leave early in September, has been fighting there ever since, Mr. Robinson was 29 years of age. The details of his death have not yet been received. (Photo included in original publication)
Retfordian, In Memoriam: 'John Henry Robinson, Lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry, was killed on November 30th last, on the French front near Cambrai. The deceased officer was the son of the late Mr J Robinson a well known Retford solicitor. he was at school 1898-1906, and after a short period at the Nottingham High School, he entered Queens College Cambridge. After graduation he was articled to Mr S.H. Clay, a Retford solicitor, with whom he subsequently entered into partnership. On the outbreak of war, Robinson was amongst the first to volunteer, joining the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry as a trooper. In 1916 he joined an Officers cadet battalion at Newmarket, whence he was gazetted to a commission in the Somerset Light Infantry. he was sent to the Front almost at once, being attached to the North Staffordshire Regiment with which he saw a good deal of fighting in France.'
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo David Nunn by courtesy of Pauline Armstrong from Nottinghamshire Law Society.
    - Photo David Nunn by courtesy of Pauline Armstrong from Nottinghamshire Law Society.
  • From Nottinghamshire Law Society's Roll of Honour.
    - From Nottinghamshire Law Society's Roll of Honour.
  • This photo of John Henry Robinson was first published in the 'Retfordian' magazine following his death
    John Henry Robinson - This photo of John Henry Robinson was first published in the 'Retfordian' magazine following his death
  • Photo shows the family grave which commemorates John Henry Robinson at Retford Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Rachel Farrand
    John Henry Robinson - Photo shows the family grave which commemorates John Henry Robinson at Retford Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Rachel Farrand
  •  Photo showing close up of  the family grave which commemorates John Henry Robinson at Retford Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Rachel Farrand
    John Henry Robinson - Photo showing close up of the family grave which commemorates John Henry Robinson at Retford Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Rachel Farrand
  • photo shows Cambrai memorial , upon which John Henry Robinson's name is commemorated. 
photo courtesy of CWGC
    John Henry Robinson - photo shows Cambrai memorial , upon which John Henry Robinson's name is commemorated. photo courtesy of CWGC