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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 26615
1st/4th West Riding Regiment (Duke of Wellingtons)
Who Died from Wounds on Thurday, 18th April 1918
Age 18

Plot II Row F Grave 10
Haringhe(Bandaghem)Military Cemetery, Belgium

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery

Haringhe(Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, Belgium1

Sidney Pearson Robinson was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in August 18982, the youngest of eight children of William Robinson (b. 1856, Swayfield, Lincolnshire) and his wife Elizabeth (b. c1855, Stamford, Lincolnshire née Pearson). William had worked as a groom for most of his life and that had taken him and his family to various place, including Nottingham and Lenton, Notts, before they moved to Beeston in about 1896. In 1901, the whole family was living at 15 Dallas York Road, Beeston, with William working as a groom/gardener3. By 1911, Elizabeth and two of their sons - including Sidney - was living at 26 March Street Nottingham4 although William and another son were staying with their eldest daughter's family at 4 Meadow View, Silver Hill, Beeston and working as foundry labourers5. Soon afterwards, the family moved back to Beeston, to live at 5 Myrtle Grove and were there in January 1915 when Sidney started work at Beeston Foundry as a fettler6.

From May 1916 onwards, conscription into the armed forces become compulsory for all single men when reaching the age of 18, unless in one of the exemption categories. and they were then eligible to be sent abroad on reaching the age of 19. Accordingly, Sidney attested on 28 August 19167 after which he was transferred to the Reserve before being mobilised with the 91st Training Battalion, based at Blyth, on 19 February 1917. On 1 July 1917, having completed his basic training, he was transferred to the 270th (Graduated) Battalion to await a posting abroad after reaching his 19th birthday. On 9 October 1917, he embarked at Folkestone for Boulogne and then to the base camp at Étaples before allocation to 1st/5th Battalion West Riding Regiment. After a few days at the Infantry Base Depot at Morbecque he joined 1st/5th, then at Steenvoorde, as part of a draft of 185 reinforcements, replacements for heavy losses that the battalion had incurred, in a period of atrocious weather, earlier in the month. For the next three months the battalion settled down to periods of training interspersed with several occasions spent manning the front line, all against a backdrop of very bad weather and mud changing to frosty conditions8.

At the end of January 1918, instructions were received that the battalion was to be part of a reorganisation of the Regiment's battalions. Private Robinson was one of 234 men who were, along with 12 officers, transferred to 1st/4th Battalion, part of 147 Infantry Brigade of 49th Division, on the 29th January 1918.

On 21st March, the German Army launched its Spring Offensive from the Hindenburg Line with the objective of ending the war before American troops and resources could tilt the balance towards the Allies. The objective was to smash through the Allied lines, push the British forces into the sea and to cut off their supply lines by seizing the ports. The German advance had been preceded by a very heavy bombardment which included gas shells. The advancing attack had gained ground and despite a strong defence, parts of the line had been forced to effect a planned and orderly retirement to a new line, closely followed by the enemy. In the next several days, more ground had been lost and the British troops had become increasingly disorganised. Although 1/4th Battalion had not been closely involved at this early stage, the need to react and recover quickly was to mean its increasing involvement during April and beyond. On 10th April, the battalion was ordered to move to Erquinghem where it was involved in heavy fighting against an enemy attack but managed to hold its position for five hours but with heavy losses on both sides. While in support of other hard-pressed battalions, the battalion was ordered to withdraw to Nieppe. Although this was generally successful, the greater part of one platoon in C Coy, was entirely cut-off and lost. At Nieppe, however, the enemy was driven back with heavy casualties and, for now, the line was held. By the 12th April, the battalion had moved to Bailleul where it faced a heavy enemy bombardment but was able to assist in the stablisation of the line. Similarly, on the 14th, the battalion faced enemy advances which threatened the whole line in that vicinity and was able, once again, to restore the position. On the next day, the battalion having been relieved and in reserve at Saint Jans Cappel, was soon ordered to dig a line against an anticipated attack. On the 16th there was a heavy enemy bombardment, followed by a enemy attack in large numbers. The battalion was able to deflect the advance so that it came up against 6th Battalion and was completely held up and with heavy casualties9.

At some point on the 17th, or on the next day when there were more casualties - 2 officers and 46 other ranks - from continuing shelling, Private Robinson was severely wounded in the chest and abdomen. He was evacuated to the 62nd Casualty Clearing Station at Haringhe, some 20 km nearer the coast10. Sadly, he died on 18th April 1918, one of almost 400 men from the battalion who, along with 15 officers were casualties over this nine days of sustained attacks by the enemy.

Private Robinson was buried in Haringhe(Bandaghem) Military Cemetery in the village of Haringhe, Belgium about 18km west of Ypres. Bandaghem, like Dozinghem and Mendinghem, were the popular names given by the troops to groups of casualty clearing stations posted to this area during the First World War. The cemetery site was chosen in July 1917 for the 62nd and 63rd Casualty Clearing Stations and burials from these and other hospitals (notably the 36th Casualty Clearing Station in 1918) continued until October 1918. The cemetery contains 772 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. There is a separate plot of 39 German war graves, but four plots (X, XI, XII and XIII) of French graves were removed to other burial grounds after the war. There are also five Second World War burials in the cemetery, three of which are unidentified. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield11.

Private Robinson was posthumously awaited the Victory Medal and the British Medal12. His Army financial effects of 11 15s 8d were paid to his mother, as sole legatee, on 17 August 1918 and she also received his War Gratuity of 4 10s on 23 December 191913. His personal effects were returned to her on 26 August 191814.

It appears that William and Elizabeth continued to live at 5 Myrtle Grove for the remainder of their lives. Both are listed there on the 1921 Electoral Roll as is Elizabeth in 1930. Other family members also stayed in Beeston.

1The photograph of Haringhe(Bandaghem) Military Cemetery is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2His birth was registered in Basford Registration District (of which Beeston was part) in Q4/1898 (Ref 7b 193). His actual birth date appears in the Beeston Foundry records.
3Beeston, Notts, 1901 Census, Piece 3153 Folio 166. Sidney's siblings were : Emma Elizabeth (b. c1882), William Henry (b. c1883), Ethel Maud (b. c1886), Herbert Healey (b. c1887). May Nellie (b. c1888), Charles Henry (or Harry, b. c1889) and George Frederick (b. 1894)
4Nottingham, 1911 Census, Piece 20509 RD430, SD1, ED20, Sched 298.
5Beeston, Notts, 1911 Census, Piece 20430 RD429, SD3, ED5, Sched 324. Silver Hill is a name then given to the Broadgate/Lower Road area of Beeston.
6Beeston Foundry records show that he was living there when he started at the Foundry on 3 January 1915 and left on 12 February 1917.
7His enlistment date and details of his mobilisation and posting to France are from his Army Service Records - available on ancestry.com.
8The account of 1/5th Battalion during Private Robinson's attachment is based on its war diary
9The account of 1/4th battalion's actions during April 1918 is based on its war diary.
10Brief details of his injuries are in a telegram in his Army Service Record, sent from the 62 Casualty Clearing Station to the War Office casualty department.
11This description of Haringhe(Bandaghem) Military Cemetery is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
12Details from Sidney's Medal Card and his entry in the Medal Rolls - available on ancestry.com.
13Details of the payments are from the "Army Register of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929" - available on ancestry.com.
14Details of these are included in his Army Service Record.

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