Remembrance – Ernest Robinson

Today we remember local Bourne man, Ernest Robinson who died this day (19th April) 1917 serving with the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.

Ernest was born in the summer of 1889 in Bourne to John Robinson born in 1853 in Bourne, a bricklayer, and his wife Susannah Barnes, born in 1850 inBillingborough.

The couple were married in 1877 in the Sleaford district.

Ernest was one of four children;
-Sarah Elizabeth Barnes, 1876, Sleaford (Half sister)
-Charles William Robinson, 1879, Bourne
-Herbert Robinson, 1885, Bourne
-Ernest Robinson, 1889, Bourne

The family lived at 31 Woodview Bourne and in 1911 Ernest is listed at home on census night and working as a Coal Porter at the gas works.

Ernest along with both his brothers joined the army during WW1 although Charles and Herbert both survived the war.
On Monday 31st August 1914, less that 4 weeks after war was declared, Ernest along with 14 other local men left Bourne station to join the Lincolnshire Regiment.

* Grantham Journal Saturday 5 September 1914

HEARTY SEND-OFF FOR RECRUITS:- On Monday morning, a company of fifteen left Bourne Station to join the Lincoln Regiment of Lord Kitchener’s Army. The company met at the recruiting station in West Street and were escorted to the station by the Bourne Brass Band and a large number of the residents of the town. The names were:- Arthur Mason, Fred W Savage, John Thos Baldock, Geo Sherwin, George Carver, Frank Baldock (married), H Cleary, W Herbert Bloodworth (married), Percy J Vickers, Walter Parker (married), Ernest Robinson, Harry Darnes (Bourne), Joe Smith, Walter Archer and Percy Cave (Witham-on-the-Hill, the latter three being the result of a meeting at Witham-on-the-Hill on Sunday evening, addressed by Lord Kesteven and Lieut K. R. G. Fenwick and presided over by Col C. Birch-Reynardson.

Ernest joined the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, although his records are not available and it is assumed were destroyed in the warehouse fire in the Blitz during World War Two.

Ernest was awarded the 1915 star meaning that he saw action abroad in 1915. Other than this and the fact that he was listed in the 2nd Battalion on his effects register, not much is known about his exact movements from the official records.

The 6th Lincolnshire was formed in the first week of the war and stationed themselves at Belton Park near Grantham, ready to receive recruits. By the end of the month they had formed 4 companies of new recruits from the men that answered Kitchener’s call. It was noted that the physical standard of troops for the 6th Battalion was high due to the high numbers go agricultural workers that joined the Battalion.

The 11th Northern Division including the 6th battalion and  Ernest, stated to to move from their training camps to Salisbury Plain, the 6th battalion being sent into camp at Frensham in March 1915, where final training was carried out. On the 31st of May the division was inspected by king George V on Hankey Common before entraining to Liverpool and then embarking on the Empress of Britain for the Dardanelles.

They arrived in Alexandria on July 12th and once age embarked on the 16th eventually dropping anchor in Mudros Harbour on the 18th. After another 2 days at anchor the Battalion was transhipped by small river steamers to Cape Hellas and then by trawlers onto the River Clyde which was now stranded on the beach near Sedd el Bahr.

It was only after 6 weeks of heavy fighting, including Sulva Bay, Scimitar Hill and Chocolate Hill, that we find Ernest on the wounded list of the 3rd September. It was reported that, whilst serving with C company of the 6th Battalion, Ernest took a shrapnel wound to his right buttock and foot.
He was transferred by a sick convoy to the 19th General Hospital in Alexandria arriving on the 115th August and spent the next 20 days receiving treatment on Ward A.
On the 3rd September he was returned to England arriving from the convoy ship on the 13th September 1915 and being admitted to Queen Alexandra’s Hospital in Millbank London. He was discharged from hospital on the 18th February 1916, although another note says 10 days S.F(Bn). In other wounded cases we have seen soldiers receiving furlough immediately after leaving hospital. The only other piece of information is that in the observation column it notes Westminster.

– In a letter home published in the Grantham Journal 23rd October 1915;
Private F Hinson No2 B company, six platoon, 6th Lincolns is writing from the Dardanelles to his parents. Mr and Mrs Jabez Henson, Woodview, Bourne says:-

“We have been here a fortnight, I have just been talking to young Bloodworth from Bourne Gas House. We are in the same company. Of those who came from Bourne in this company only Bloodworth and Rooksby are left. The rest are killed or wounded. Among the wounded were Vickers, Ernest Robinson, Savage and Baldock (whose brother is missing). Young Wray (who was my pal in France) and I are together again.”

It is likely that by the time Ernest had convalesced he would have joined another Battalion or Regiment where he is most needed. We do know from his medal roll that he also served with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, although no dates are given. We can only assume that at this point he embarks for France, possibly around the 28th February if he received 10 days furlough. On arriving in the camp in France it is likely he was reassigned to the 2nd Battalion rather than being shipped back to the 6th.

At some point  Ernest was promoted to acting corporal and this shows in the medal roll. The note appears between the 6th Battalion. and the 2nd Battalion notes.

Whilst Ernest was away from his Battalion, The 6th Lincs were evacuated from Sulva Bay, Gallipoli, on the night of the 20th and 21st December. They then fought in Egypt before moving to France on the 1st July 1916. The battalion entered the Battle of the Somme on the 15th July near Fleurs.

As we do not know exactly when Ernest was posted to the 2nd Battalion we will jump forward to April 1917 when we know that Ernest was killed. Of the two battalions the 2nd were certainly in the Arras area.

The 2nd Battalion started April 1917 at Fins on the Dessart Wood outpost line. The Battalion was then relieved and went into divisional support in Equancourt Wood and then at Fins ready for an attack on Gouzencourt Wood on the 4th April. Once the objectives were met the Battalion moved back to Fins, to be relieved on the 6th April and moving to Lieramont in divisional reserve.

From the 8th April the 2nd Battalion were in training, before moving to Nurlu on the 11th to provide working parties for road mending.

On the 16th April the Battalion moved into divisional support in trenches north east of Heudecourt. On the 17th they were in support trenches and working on them to create a defensive line.

The battalion relieved the Berkshire Regiment in the outpost line in front of Gonnelieu on the 18th. At 12 midnight 6 patrols attempted to enter Gonnelieu but were held up in the wire in front of the village and constantly fired upon by rifles & machine guns and were unable to press forward. This was carried out by A & C Companies. 1 officer killed, 2 officers wounded, 11 other ranks killed, 26 wounded, 7 missing.

The next day, 19th April, the battalion were in the outpost line, artillery and patrols were active on both sides.

Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson was killed in action on the 19th April 1917.

Grantham Journal Saturday 19 May 1917

LOCAL CASUALTIES. Corpl Jos Brown son of Mr and Mrs Brown of Eastgate, Bourne is in hospital at Hampton Court suffering from wounds in his back and right hand. He is one of six sons, five of whom are in the army. Pte G Sherwin, son of Mr and Mrs Luke Sherwin, Bourne who some months ago was officially notified as wounded and missing, is now reported dead. The official notification of Pte Sherwin’s death was received by his parents last week. A memorial service for Pte Sherwin and Pte W Needham was held on Sunday at the Abbey Church. Official notification has this week been received that Corpl E Robinson, son of Mr and Mrs John Robinson, Woodview, Bourne has been Killed in action. Corpl Robinson was attached to the Lincolns.

CWGC – In memory of Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson, 8570, 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 19 April 1917. Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial and on the Bourne war memorial.

We will remember them