No. 18660, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 33)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s)
Killeshandra Parish Church of Ireland Church
George Robinson was born on 14 May 1883 and he was a son of James and Elizabeth (Bessy) Robinson (nee Smith) of Gartinardress, Cornafean in County Cavan. James Robinson worked as a labourer and coachman and he and Bessy Smith were married on 22 December 1870 in Derrylane Church of Ireland Church, Aghnacor, Co Cavan. This church is now in the parish of Killeshandra.
James and Bessy Robinson (nee Smith) had seven children:
James (born 22 May 1873 in Gartinardress)
Eliza Jane (born 15 October 1875 in Gartinardress)
William (born 10 May 1878 in Gartinardress)
Francis (born around 1879)
Charles (born 28 December 1880 in Gartinardress)
George (born 14 May 1883 in Gartinardress)
Thomas (born 29 October 1886 in Corr)
In 1901 George Robinson was working as a farm servant for Samuel Hoy in Kilmakee, Templepatrick. George Robinson also worked as a chauffeur and he and Catherine Wilton from Campsie, Omagh, Co Tyrone were married on 31 December 1908 in Omagh Parish Church of Ireland Church. They had five children:
Catherine (Kathleen, born 4 January 1909 in Campsie)
William James (Bill, born 7 March 1910 in Campsie)
George (born 26 May 1912 in Croft Street, Bangor)
Helen (born 18 January 1914 in Croft Street, Bangor)
Richard Wilton (born 23 December 1915 at 12 Croft Street, Bangor)
George Robinson and his family moved from Omagh to Bangor where they lived at 12 Croft Street. George was a member of Bangor Purple Star LOL No. 677 and, before he enlisted in Bangor in September 1914, George was a member of the Bangor contingent of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). He served in ‘A’ Company 1st Co. Down Volunteers and, before he went to France, he travelled from Bangor to County Cavan to visit his parents, James and Elizabeth Robinson.
Rifleman George Robinson was 33 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. James Robinson was 66 years old and Elizabeth was 76 years old when their son George died. Elizabeth Robinson died on 14 March 1924 (aged 84) and James Robinson died on 18 February 1932 (aged 83).
Rifleman George Robinson was initially reported as missing in action and through the pages of the County Down Spectator Catherine appealed to his comrades for information about her husband. George’s body was never found and in June 1917 Catherine Robinson was officially informed that her husband must be presumed to have been killed in action on 1 July 1916.
Rifleman George Robinson (No. 18660) is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum (Page 59) and on the Memorial Plaques in the RBL Bangor Branch and Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s). He is also commemorated in Killeshandra Parish Church of Ireland Church in County Cavan as is his brother William. William Robinson was born in Gartinardress, he lived in Templepatrick, he enlisted in Belfast, he served with the 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (687) in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was killed in action on 2 June 1917. Rifleman William Robinson is buried in Pond Farm Cemetery in Belgium (Grave P. 17).
Rifleman George Robinson’s son, Bill Robinson, moved to Canada and was a founding member of the 36th (Ulster) Division Old Comrades Association in Toronto.
Sometime around 1930 Bill Robinson (then aged about 20) penned the following lines:
CALL TO REMEMBRANCE
(And Your Young Men Shall Dream Dreams of Peace)
With Reverence we bare our head
In memory of the Honoured Dead
Though they fell several years ago
We still feel the grief and woe.
Year after year we think of them,
Their sacrifices – those gallant men;
Too quickly, some seem to forget
The rest of us remember yet.
We, who now live in time of peace
Should train ourselves to make war cease.
Build with more thought for common good
Saving our sons from cannon food.
And how could we ever lose sight
Of that cause which they thought was right?
They believed to protect their land
Were they here, would they understand?
Can you recall the tramping feet?
Can you not see the vacant seat?
If you forget why they are dead
Eternal Shame be on your head!
O God of Might and Hope and Strength
Give us Thy true Peace, so at length
All nations will find their Peace in Thee,
And all Thy people will be free.