Sergeant George Dickson Robinson

 

 

George Dickson Robinson was born on 6 February 1892 at Edward Street, Lurgan, County Armagh, the sixth child of linen warper William Robinson and his wife Mary Margaret (nee Neill). By 1911 he was living with his family in Lurgan, his occupation given as an unemployed clerk.

Robinson enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron in early February 1915 (No. UD 209). On 6 October 1915 he embarked for France with his squadron, which was then serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In June 1916 the Inniskilling squadron joined C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until August 1917. On 5 July, while engaged on salvage duty at Aveluy Wood, Robinson was wounded when his party came under heavy artillery fire. The regimental diary stated:

Orders were received from A.P.M. 36th Division at 9 am for the two troops dismounted to report to Capt O'Neill at Lancashire Dump for salvage duty. They carried out this duty bringing in equipment, rifles etc till 1 pm. The men had dinner and were just turning out again when Lieut Seymour received orders from 36th Division to return to Regtl Head Quarters. The men had just started to saddle up when a heavy bombardment of both high explosive, shrapnel & machine guns was concentrated on the Wood. The intensity of the fire necessitated Lt Seymour giving orders for the men to take shelter in some old dugouts & trenches close by. The bombardment lasted for 3/4 of an hour & then slackened but did not entirely stop. Up to now one horse was killed & four wounded. The men were then ordered to saddle up & lead their horses thro' Wood out on to the road and were waiting for the others to join up when the bombardment opened much heavier than previously especially on that part of the road where the men were waiting. Lt Seymour moved off up the road leaving 2/Lt Matthews & Sergt McIlvoy to round up the stragglers in the wood, as by this time horses were very restive and almost unmanagable. Lt Seymour with his party had reached about 1 mile along the road & turned down a lane leaving the horses in charge of Sergt Quinn. Almost immediately a heavy fire was brought to bear on the horses and Sergt Quinn was wounded. The horses stampeded in every direction, some back to Aveluy Wood. Eventually Lt Seymour was able to round up most of this party & got to Senlis. Lieut Matthews & Sergt McIlroy remained behind. Our losses numbered 16 horses killed or wounded and 2 missing. 2/Lt Matthews was wounded severely in the knee from high explosive and Pte Downes, Nicholl, Gourley wounded (hosp) and Ptes Buchanan, 195 Campbell, Totton, 105 Craig, Cpl Dickson, 209 Robinson slightly wounded (duty).

The Belfast News-Letter of 22 July 1916 reported that Robinson had been wounded and was suffering from shell-shock.

In September 1917 the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment was dismounted and most of its men transferred to the infantry. The majority, including Robinson, were transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, on 20 September. Robinson was issued a new regimental number – 41143.

Robinson was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 23 March 1919.

 

Image from the Larne Times of August 1916 kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).