Private Hiram Robinson


Hiram Robinson was born on 9 May 1895 at Raw, Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, the fourth of thirteen children of farmer Thomas Robinson and his wife Margaret (nee Hogg).

Robinson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Fivemiletown on 10 November 1911 (No.633 – later Corps of Hussars No.71050), stating his age as 18 years 10 months, more than two years older than he was.

He embarked for France on 17 August 1914 with A Squadron, seeing action in the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne. Two letters published in the Belfast News-Letter (on 13 November 1914 and 10 December 1914), tell something of Robinson's activities during that time:

Mr Hiram Robinson, late commander of the Colebrooke Company, U.V.F., Brookeborough, who is with the North Irish Horse, writing to his parents at Raw, Brookeborough, on 2nd inst., mentions that he received a slight wound in the head from shrapnel, but that, fortunately, it only required stitching.  A troop of the regiment, he adds, got lost the day he received the wound.  When they were retiring Humphrey Boyd (Maguiresbridge) and a few of them were left behind and they joined the 9th Lancers, and were in the thick of the Lancers’ charge (which has since become famous).  At the retirement from Mons his regiment lost their transport, and they had to live for four days on biscuits.  He pays a tribute to the North Irish Horse, which he says is “a gay little regiment.”  “I think it is doing its part in this war anyway,” he adds, “and men of other regiments, talking to us, ask us if we’re all Carson’s men, and we’re not ashamed to tell them we are.”

Mr. Harry Armstrong, a former officer in the U.V.F. Force in Brookeborough, writes home an interesting account of his experiences with the North Irish Horse at the front. On the 26th August, he says, they had been doing rearguard for the 4th Division, and had been in action from 3.30 a.m. till 5 p.m., and were almost "done up," having got no rest or sleep for some time previous. That was in the retreat from Mons. "We stopped at a little village to feed our tired horses and to have some food ourselves. Lord Cole rode to the sentry furthest from the village, and returned at full gallop, with the signal 'Mount,' and then we got 'Action rear.'" Handing over their horses (the writer proceeded), they took up a position in the gardens, and opened fire at 1,100 yards, and left many riderless horses in the enemy's ranks. The Germans shelled the village, tumbling over the houses. Hiram Robinson, Brookeborough, and Sergeant Boyd (Maguiresbridge) ran for their horses, when a house which had been struck by a shell crashed down beside them. He saw Sergeant Boyd crawl out from under the fallen house – mud from head to foot – while Hiram Robinson was slightly wounded on the head. Six of them, including Robinson and himself, got detached from their troop, and fell in with the Dragoons, and took part in the charge of the 9th Lancers at Cambrai. "We did three cavalry charges altogether," he adds, "and several bayonet charges with the infantrymen. Nothing puts the Germans to flight like the steel. We charged the infantrymen in the trenches, and with the signal 'Close' we closed knee to knee and cheered our best. Somebody shouted, "Hurrah for Ulster," and somebody else 'No Surrender,' and if you had seen the Germans you would never have forgotten it. They turned as pale as death, and instead of meeting us with fixed bayonets they dropped their rifles with pure fright, and then all was roars and confusion. But we came safe through, anyway. 'No Surrender' for ever."

Robinson remained with A Squadron for most of the war. However on 21 May 1918 he was taken on strength of the British Section of the Supreme War Council at Versailles.

He left France for home at the beginning of February 1919 and was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 5 March that year.

Robinson died on 3 May 1924 at Aghavea, Brookeborough. The Fermanagh Times reported that:

The death took place suddenly on Saturday afternoon of Mr. Hiram Robinson, son of Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Robinson, of Aghavea, Brookeborough. Deceased, who was 29 years of age, had been prominently connected with Orangeism and Unionism in Brookeborough district, being a member of Cooneen L.O.L 1010, and a Sir Knight of Brookeborough R.B.P. He was closely indentified with the U.V.F., and on the outbreak of the great war joined up with the North Irish Horse, and was wounded in the memorable retreat from Mons. After demobilisation he emigrated to New York, and there contracted an illness from which he never fully recovered, and which eventually claimed him a victim. The funeral to Colebrooke Churchyard was very large and representative. Rev. R. Warrington, rector, officiated, and a number of beautiful wreaths were sent by friends.



Image of Robinson's gravesite at Colebrooke Parish Church, Brookeborough, sourced from the Billion Graves website.