Thursday, 21 May 2015

Robinson, Thomas - Private (28696)

Pte Thomas Robinson
11th (Lonsdale battalion)
The Border Regiment
Missing presumed killed 10th July 1917,
Age 40
Commemorated on Nieuport Memorial

Thomas Robinson was born in Accrington in 1877. He was the son of Eddleston and Alice Ann Robinson of Accrington. In 1881, 3 year old Thomas was living at 6, Long Row, Habergam Eaves, near Burnley with his parents and baby sister Margaret. By 1891 the family had moved back to Accrington and were living at 24, Oswald Street, where Thomas was living with his parents and five sisters, Elizabeth, Margaret, Alice, Ellen and Mary. Thomas, then aged 13, was working as a cotton weaver. In 1901 Thomas was living at 101, Oswald Street, Accrington, with his widowed mother, brother Eddleston and sisters Mary, Alice, Ellen and Betsy. His father, Eddleston, had died in 1897. Thomas was working, at this time, as a labourer in a textile calico works. On 29 February 1908 he married Sarah Ellen Heap at St. John’s Church, Stonefold. Prior to the outbreak of war he was a weaver at Stonefold Mill and lived at 3 Lower Stonefold. In 1916 he joined the King's Liverpool Regiment, (4517) but was later transferred to the Border Regiment. He went missing, presumed killed in action near Nieuport, Belgium on 10 July 1917. He was 40 years of age. Thomas Robinson's name is recorded on the Nieuport Memorial, Nieuport (now Nieuwpoort), Belgium.

"At the end of June 1917 the Battalion moved from Villers Bretonneux to new positions in the Nieuport-Lombartzyde area on the Belgian coastal sector of the front line. The position included a narrow strip of polder and sand-dunes on the banks of the River Yser between the Plassendaele Canal and the sea.
At 6 am on 10 July the Battalion first and second lines were heavily shelled. A strong gale was blowing which prevented any counter-shelling from the British ships off the coast. The ground was so waterlogged that trenches were not possible and the defences were simply breast-works built into the sand. The bombardment continued all day destroying many of the breast-works. To add to the misery British artillery 18 pounder shells were falling short and crashing into the second line. The Germans were also using a new gas shell that affected the eyes and induced vomiting.
Late in the afternoon orders came from Brigade H.Q. - "The front line must be held whether demolished or not". A runner from 'C Company got through to H.Q. with a report "Front line very badly smashed, right half completely wiped out. Second line badly knocked about, parts non-existent. I shall be glad of any news. The shelling is the "bally limit" and I do not like it. We are lying low and I hope all will be well. I hope it will finish soon ".
By 5 pm, of two platoons, only 15 men remained. Half an hour later this was reduced to four. The platoon officers considered reinforcements pointless as the trenches gave insufficient cover even for the four men who were still holding them.
At 6.30 pm the German infantry attacked. The 1s' Northamptonshire Regiment and the 2nd King Royal Rifle Corps were overwhelmed after a gallant resistance. Every available man of the Border Regiment and other regimental battalions counter-attacked throughout the night until the Germans were driven back. At 4 am the Borders were relieved and moved back to Coxyde in reserve. Their losses were eight officers and 350 N.C.O.'s and men". From – Bill Turner’s Book.