Robinson B.


18858 Private Bertie Robinson, 9th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own, Yorkshire Regiment died of wounds 4 October 1916 and is buried at Becourt Military Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, France.[1]  He was 23 years old and is commemorated on the Butterknowle War Memorial and the memorial plaque in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.

Family Details

Bertie Robinson was born 1893[2] at Butterknowle and was the adopted son of Ralph and Christanna Smith.[3]  In 1901, Ralph and Christanna lived with her mother Rosabella Balls and sister, Charlotte Balls at Copley Bent.  Bertie, aged 7 years old is recorded as a boarder.  35 year old Ralph was employed as a colliery banksman and was born at Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire.  Rosabella, Christanna and Charlotte were born at Hawthorn, Essex.  By 1911, Ralph and Christanna lived at Copley Road with their daughters 11 year old Isabella and 9 year old Minnie.  Ralph was employed as a coal miner (shiftman).  Bertie, now 17 years old was employed as a coal miner (putter). [4]

Service Details

28 December 1914:  Bertie Robinson attested at Sunderland [5] joining the Yorkshire Regiment and was allocated the regimental number 18858.

30 January 1915: He was posted to the 3rd Battalion.  [6]

28 September 1915:  Private B. Robinson entered the Balkan Theatre.[7]  He must have served with the 6th (Service) Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (otherwise known as the Green Howards) since that was the only Green Howards battalion to take part in the Gallipoli Campaign. [8]  At that time, 6/Green Howards came under the orders of the 32nd Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division and the battalion saw fighting at Suvla Bay 6 August 1915 as part of the invasion force and thereafter.  Private B. Robinson was a draft to reinforce the battalion, arriving 28 September.  As part of the British withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion was evacuated in December 1915.  After a time in Egypt, the battalion landed in France in July 1916.[9]  Private B. Robinson is likely to have been transferred to the 9th Bn., the Yorkshire Regiment shortly after arriving in France.

The 9/Green Howards came under the orders of the 69th Brigade 23rd Division together with:

  • 11th (Service) Bn., the West Yorkshire Regiment
  • 8th (Service) Bn., the Yorkshire Regiment
  • 10th (Service) Bn., Duke of Wellington Regiment
  • 69th Machine Gun Company joined March 1916
  • 68th Trench Mortar Battery formed June 1916

The 23rd Division entered France 26 August 1915 and took part in various phases of the Battle of the Somme: [10]

  • Albert: 1-13 July
  • Bazentin Ridge: 14-17 July
  • Pozieres: 23 July-3 September
  • Flers-Courcelette: 15-22 September
  • Morval: 25-28 September
  • Le Transloy: 1-18 October

The battalion was involved in action 18 and 19 September when German forces bombed their way into Prue and Starfish Trenches.  The lost ground was regained later.  The regimental history records no casualty figures for this action. [11]  The War Diary records that the battalion relieved the 8/Seaforth Highlanders in the front line system 18.9.16 and casualties were 1 Officer died of wounds 4 Officers were wounded, 29 Other Ranks were killed, 94 wounded and 15 missing.[12]  Later research indicates that 6 other ranks were killed in action or died of wounds on the 18th and 19th and a total of 33 other ranks and 1 officer died between 18 and 25 September.[13]  Private B. Robinson may have been involved here.

The War Diary records the following for the first week of October:

Trenches: 1.10.16: Reserve trenches near Martinpuich.  Casualties killed 7, wounded 10.

Trenches: 5.10.16: Front line system.  Relieved 8/Yorks. Regt.  Casualties O.R. wounded 5

Trenches: 7.10.16: Bttn took part in an attack on Le Sars which was entirely successful.  Casualties Officers killed 2, wounded 3.  ORs killed 15, wounded 86, Missing 10.”

The action recorded 7 October was later known as the Battle of Le Transloy.  [14]

Private B. Robinson died of wounds 4 October and it seems likely that he was one of those other ranks reported as wounded 1 October.  No further information has been researched.  It is speculated that since the battalion was in the reserve trenches and there were 17 casualties then the group was hit by shell fire – the usual violence of warfare.

18858 Private B. Robinson was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals.[15]


Private B. Robinson is buried at grave reference I.X.7 Becourt Military Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt.  The following epitaph was organised by Mrs. C. Smith, 39 Chapel Houses, Copley Lane, Butterknowle: [16]

Gone but Not Forgotten


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.244 Auckland 1893 Q3

[3] CWGC

[4] 1901 & 1911 census records

[5] Green Howards Enlistment Records Book Note: SDGW record place of enlistment Barnard Castle

[6] Green Howards Enlistment Records Book

[7] Medal Roll card index




[11] “The Green Howards in the Great War 1914-1919” Colonel H.C. Wylly 1926 p.301

[12] 9th Bn., Yorkshire Regiment War Diary September 1916

[13] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[14] “The Green Howards in the Great War 1914-1919” Colonel H.C. Wylly 1926 p.301

[15] Medal Roll card index

[16] CWGC


ROBINSON B. Headstone


ROBINSON B. Medal Roll

Medal Roll

One thought on “Robinson B.

  1. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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