No. 18/20677, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Sunday 24 March 1918 (aged 26)
No known grave
Pozieres Memorial, France (Panel 74 to 76)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
David Robinson was born on 20 January 1892 in Georges Street, Newtownards and he was the third son of Hugh and Alice Robinson (nee McCullough) who were married on 27 April 1883 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s). Hugh Robinson, a carter from North Street, Newtownards was a son of Hugh Robinson, a carter. Alice McCullough from Greenwell Street, Newtownards was a son of Robert McCullough, a weaver.
The Robinson family lived in East Street, Newtownards.
Hugh Robinson worked as a carter, a labourer and a fish dealer and he and Alice Robinson (nee McCullough) had at least thirteen children including:
Robert James (born 11 February 1884 in Movilla Street, Newtownards and it was noted that, at the time, his father Hugh was in Glasgow)
Hugh (born 20 August 1885 in Movilla Street, Newtownards)
Agnes Jane (born 12 September 1887 in Georges Street, Newtownards)
Mary (born 20 August 1889 in Georges Street, Newtownards)
David (born 20 January 1892 in Georges Street, Newtownards)
Andrew Bailie (born 19 April 1895 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards; died of vomiting and diarrhoea on 20 June 1895)
Alice (born 12 April 1896 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards)
Annabella (born 21 March 1897 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards)
Andrew (born 27 February 1898 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards; died of cholera infantum 8 August 1898)
Margaret (Maggie, born 14 May 1899 in Lower Mary Street, Newtownards)
Samuel (born 22 May 1901 in East Street, Newtownards)
Andrew Bailie (born 18 December 1902 in Castle Place, Newtownards)
David’s father Hugh died of tuberculosis on 13 July 1907 (aged 43) and his mother worked as a general dealer.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War David Robinson worked as a butcher. He enlisted in Belfast and joined the 18th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and when he was killed in action on 24 March 1918 at the beginning of the German Spring Offensive his Battalion was part of 108th Brigade in the 36th (Ulster) Division. Initially it was reported that Rifleman David Robinson was missing in action and some six months later it was confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action. His widowed mother placed a For King and Country notice in the 21 September 1918 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
He sleeps not in his native land,
But under foreign skies;
He sleeps far from those he loved;
In a hero’s grave he lies.
Friends may forget him, but his mother will never;
He will dwell in my heart till life’s journey is done.
Lord! Teach me to live, and when my days are ended,
I may meet at the gates, my dear hero son.
The following week there were notices from his sister and brother-in-law Mary and Andrew McDowell of 4 Queen Street, Newtownards, his sister and brother-in-law Maggie and William Robson of 3 Castle Place, Newtownards, his two sisters in Canada and his brothers on active service. His two sisters in Canada lived in Winnipeg; Agnes was married to William Moorecroft and Alice was married to Samuel Kells. There were two verses inserted with the notices:
We little thought his time so short,
When he on furlough came,
When to the front that morn he went
Never to return again.
He was taken away in his early youth,
Taken from those he loved:
From serving his King on earth below
To serve his great King above.
In 1919 his mother, brothers and sisters placed In Memoriam notices and they contained the verses:
Oft we dream of you, dear son,
Our hearts are sore with pain;
All this earth would be a heaven
Could we hear your voice again.
Weep nor for me, my mother ear,
Nor yet be ever sad:
The shorter time on earth I was,
The fewer faults I had.
He left our home so happy,
Intending to come back,
But sad news came into our home
Which we never can forget.
Day by day we sadly miss him:
Words would fail our loss to tell:
But in heaven we hope to meet him,
Happy there with Christ to dwell.
Did he die alone, we wonder,
As he fought for his country and King,
Was there no one near our brother
When he passed to the great Unseen?
He sleeps beside his comrades,
In a hallowed grave unknown;
His name is written in letters of love
On the hearts he left at home.
We mourn for you, dear brother,
But not with outward show,
For the heart that mourns sincerely
Mourns silently and low.
Rifleman David Robinson (No. 18/20677) was 26 when he died and he has no known grave.
Rifleman David Robinson (No. 18/20677) is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in France; on Newtownards and District War Memorial and in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s).
At civil birth registration his elder brother Hugh was given only the one forename. Later Hugh was known as Samuel Hugh and the family knew him as Samuel. Samuel Hugh Robinson worked as a butcher, and he moved to Australia where he and his wife Mabel lived in Merton Street, South Brisbane, Queensland. During the First World War he served as a Private with C Company in the 3rd Australian Pioneers Battalion (No. 892). He survived the war and was discharged on 16 August 1919. He died in 1952 in Greenslopes, Brisbane.