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Born: 1893, Thornton
Died: 19 July 1917, Belgium
Buried: Perth Cemetery, China Wall
Address: Lower Holme, Woodbottom, Baildon
Parents: William & Elizabeth
Siblings: Ada, Frank, Tom, Laura, Irvin
Occupation: Apprentice plumber
Organisations/clubs: Baildon Woodbottom FC
Rank: Sapper
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: Royal Engineers
Willie Robinson
According to the census, Willie Robinson was born around 1893. In 1901 he was living with his parents and elder siblings at 99 Bradford Road Otley. He father was a foreman at a local worsted mill and several of Willie’s older brothers were also in the mill. Ten years later, Willie appears as an apprentice plumber living with what looks likely to have been his boss, Charles Turner, builder, at Laughton near Rotherham. Willie answered his country’s call in 1915 and in 1994, his nephew and namesake wrote own what he knew of his uncle’s army career “I was always told Uncle Billy was
the youngest brother of my father, Tom Robinson. He played football with him for the Baildon Woodbottom football team. One day an agent from Carlisle FC spotted him and he wanted him to play for them. I understand he accepted and did so until he volunteered for the army in 1915. “When he joined the army they found out about his record as a footballer and an officer came to him and said ‘we are putting you into the army team so you will never go to France, lad.’ “This was all right but in the last match that he played for the army he broke his big toe which in those
days finished his football career. Within a week he was in the front line and in a few weeks he was dead. So much for army promises. “He was serving with the 18th Div, Signal Coy, Royal Engineers somewhere between Zilleberg and Ypres when he was killed. The army knew him as 480226 Sapper Robinson, W. “The above is all I know about him. My father didn’t like to talk much about him, it upset him too much. I bear his name and so does my second son.” This piece and photo supplied by Willie’s great nephew Eddy Robinson to whom many thanks
The following piece appeared in the Shipley Times & Express on 17 August 1917: The sad intelligence recently reached Mr and Mrs Robinson of 12 Lower Holme, Woodbottom, that their youngest son, Sapper Willie Robinson of the Royal Engineers, was killed. Sapper Robinson enlisted in September 1915 and after training at Newcastle and Salisbury Plain, went to France in April this year, contracting trench fever soon after his arrival there. His mother was the recipient of a letter recently from Major Willis, informing her that her son had been killed by a shell on July 19th. In the course of his letter Major Willis expresses sympathy with the parents and family of the deceased soldier and says that although he had
been with them only short time he had made many friends would be greatly missed by officers and men alike. He was highly respected. Of a most genial disposition, Sapper Robinson’s demise will be deplored by a large circle of friends. He was 24 years of age and in civil life was engaged as a plumber by Mr S Rushworth of Shipley. Sgt T Coulter, writing on July 27th says: “Dear Mrs Robinson, I feel it incumbent upon me to write you regarding the death of your beloved son in action on the 19th inst. “It is a very sad duty for me to perform but knowing all the circumstances, I felt perhaps my writing may strengthen you to bear the terrible shock which must be yours “He was doing his duty with another of my men
when struck by a shell which killed them both instantaneously. “His loss is felt by one and all with whom he was a great favourite and as his section sergeant, I personally feel his loss very much and know how immeasurable your sorrow must be. “May God in his goodness comfort and console you and give you strength to carry your burden bravely. May you be soothed by the knowledge that he died on duty for King, Country, Right and Liberty. He died that we might live. “Whilst with us he endeared himself to all and it was with great respect we laid him peacefully to rest, erecting over his last resting place a cross, giving all particulars and this knowledge will ease your aching heart. “He proved himself a good, honest and obliging soldier. In again expressing my deepest sympathy, I trust this letter may prove of some consolation in your irreparable loss.”
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