Robinson, John Singleton Henry (Jack)
13th Battalion attached 12th Battalion, Welsh Regiment
Killed in action on Tuesday 24 September 1918 (aged 26)
Marteville Communal Cemetery, France (Grave C. 9)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) War Memorial
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance
Family grave headstone in Movilla Cemetery Newtownards
John Singleton Henry Robinson (known as Jack) was born on 19 March 1892 in North Street, Newtownards and he was the third son of James and Elizabeth (Eliza, sometimes Lizzie) Robinson (nee Whiteside) who were married on 7 April 1875 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). James Robinson (aged 19) was a son of Robert Robinson, a barber. Elizabeth Whiteside (aged 18) was a daughter of Andrew Whiteside, a chandler.
The Robinson family lived in West Street and later in North Street, Newtownards.
James Robinson worked as a barber (and later as an auctioneer) and he and Elizabeth had ten children including:
Elizabeth Whiteside (Lillie, born 23 September 1877 in North Street, Newtownards; died 21 December 1961 in Pittsburg, USA)
Joseph (born 15 September 1879 in North Street, Newtownards; died 21 February 1918)
Ruth (born 28 November 1881 in North Street, Newtownards)
Margaret (born 13 July 1884 in North Street, Newtownards; died 25 December 1891)
William James Whiteside (born 7 September 1887 in North Street, Newtownards)
Mary (born 26 December 1889 in North Street, Newtownards)
John Singleton Henry (born 19 March 1892 in North Street, Newtownards)
Robert (born 26 February 1894 in North Street, Newtownards; died 13 May 1951 in Pittsburg, USA)
Hugh (born 8 June 1896 in North Street, Newtownards)
Jack’s father James died of typhus on 27 December 1896 (aged 39) and was buried in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.
Jack’s mother Elizabeth died on 13 July 1932 (aged 73) and was buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburg, USA.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Jack Robinson worked as a teacher in the Model School Newtownards and then in St Barnabas’s and St Enoch’s in Belfast.
Several members of Jack’s family, including his mother, moved to the USA.
Jack joined the Queen’s University Belfast Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) and he obtained his commission as Second Lieutenant in October 1915. He went to France on 26 June 1916 as a Lieutenant in the Welsh Regiment. His brother, Corporal William James Robinson, served at the Front with the Engineers, US Army.
In July 1916 Jack Robinson was wounded at the Somme when he was buried by a bursting shell. After treatment Lieutenant Robinson had a period of home leave and when he returned to duty he was posted to the 3rd Battalion at Cardiff. He returned to the front line and in March 1917 was admitted to hospital in Boulogne suffering from shell shock. In May 1917, he came home to Newtownards on convalescent leave for three weeks. Then he was posted for light duty with a battalion of his regiment stationed at Rhyl in Wales. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in February 1918.
Two weeks after a period of home leave in September 1918 Captain John Robinson (Robbie as he was known to his comrades throughout the battalion) was killed by a sniper’s bullet which passed straight through his head. Lieutenant Ivor Ajax wrote a letter of sympathy to Jack Robinson’s mother who was then living at 7308 Race Street, Homewood, Pittsburgh, USA and with it he enclosed a letter which Jack had asked him to send in the event of him being killed. Jack wrote the letter on 24 September 1918, the day he died:
‘Mother Darling, Brothers and Sisters
I am going into action again with my company and feel very proud indeed as I know it will do well. We all know that it is for a good cause, and as it is all in good hands we leave it at that. For myself, I trust in God as I have always done, and am prepared for anything that might happen. If we don’t meet again in this world we will meet in His glorious Kingdom, where struggles all cease. All I possess belongs to you, mother darling, and may God bless you all, and all my good friends. Au Revoir, your big loving son, Jack.’
Captain John Singleton Henry Robinson was 26 when he died and he was buried in Marteville Communal Cemetery, Attilly, Aisne, France.
Captain John Singleton Henry Robinson is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s); on the QUB War Memorial; in the QUB Book of Remembrance (Page 47) and on the family grave headstone in Movilla Cemetery Newtownards.