Robinson, Francis (Frank)
No. D/SSX 22722, HMML 466, Royal Navy
Died as the result of enemy action on Sunday 25 March 1945 (aged 26)
No known grave
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England (Panel 80 Column 1)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Frank Robinson was born on 28 February 1919 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards and he was the second son of the late William and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Robinson (nee Johnston) of 31 Greenwell Street, Newtownards.
William Robinson worked as a labourer and he and Elizabeth Johnston were married in Newtownards Registrar’s Office on 11 March 1911. William Robinson from, a labourer from Greenwell Street, Newtownards was a son of James Robinson, a labourer. Lizzie Johnston from Greenwell Street, Newtownards was a daughter of Robert Johnston, a labourer.
William and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Robinson (nee Johnston) had at least nine children:
Mary (born 23 June 1911 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Annie (born 23 July 1913 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Hugh (born 27 February 1915 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Jane (born 9 April 1917 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Francis (Frank, born 28 February 1919 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Before joining the Royal Navy, Frank Robinson worked as a Rove Boy in Walker’s Spinning Mill, Castle Gardens, Newtownards; rove was the name given to the fibres of heckled flax before they were spun into linen thread. He was a member of Newtownards True Blues Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No. 1055 and Royal Arch Purple Chapter (RAPC) No. 1055.
Frank Robinson joined the Royal Navy on 2 September 1937 (aged 18) and he was 5 feet 5 inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. Between 1937 and 1945 he served aboard several ships including HMS Royal Oak, HMS Drake, HMS Furious, HMS Kestrel, HMS Ferret and HMS Cormorant. He was serving aboard His Majesty’s Motor Launch (HMML) 466 when he died on 25 March 1945. The home base for HMML 466 was HMS Beehive, a Royal Naval Coastal Forces Base headquartered at Felixstowe Dock in Suffolk. The War Diary entry for HMML 466 for 25 March 1945 indicates that HMML 466 was mined 3 miles northwest of Walcheren in the Netherlands, caught fire and disintegrated, and left no survivors. HMML 466 was a unit of 21st Flotilla based at Ostend at the time.
Frank Robinson and Ivy McLaughlin were married on 14 August 1939 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards and they lived at 98a Greenwell Street. Frank and Ivy Robinson had two children, Hugh and Ann, and, when their father died, they were 3 years old and 3 months old respectively. Initially Frank Robinson was reported as missing and then it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed. There were Lost at Sea notices in the 14 April 1945 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle from his wife and children; his mother, brothers, and sisters; his sister Mary and brother-in-law James Boal of 45 Greenwell Street, Newtownards; his sister Annie and brother-in-law George Carlisle of 46 George Street, Newtownards; his sister Jane and brother-in-law Thomas Daye of 43 Greenwell Street, Newtownards and his parents-in-law John and Ann McLaughlin of Ballyhay. The one from his wife Ivy contained the text:
Why should I weep when my darling one rests
In the bosom of Jesus supreme
In the Mansion of Glory prepared for the blest
Where death is no more than a dream
He died that we might live
Ivy Robinson was 28 when she died on 1 January 1949 and her parents, John and Ann McLaughlin, were assigned guardians of her two children, Hugh and Ann Robinson.
Hugh Robinson became an award-winning writer and radio storyteller.
Other notices in 1945 and subsequent years contained the texts/verses:
Thy will be done
At the going down of the sun and in
The morning, we will remember him.
Through the valley of death his feet have trod,
But he reigns in glory now.
Beautiful memories are all that are left
Manly and bravely his young life he gave.
Somebody loved you, somebody cared.
He maketh the storm a calm,
So that the waves thereof are still.
Today recalls sad memories
Of a loved one gone to rest.
Gone to his loved ones, which is far better.
We cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
But all is well that’s done by Thee.
I shall meet him some bright morning
Resting by the waters fair.
Resting where no shadows fall
Mourn not for him whom God hath blest.
Able Seaman Francis Robinson (No. D/SSX 22722) is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial in Devon and on Newtownards and District War Memorial.