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Sjt David Robinson was awarded the Military Medal for his part in the trench raid of 10th January 1917 at Wieltje north east of Ypres.

His MM card carries the Schedule No: 68644 a unique number for medal issue, and included on the Army Medal Recommendation Form W 3121 if finally approved, his MM appeared in the London Gazette of 12th March 1917.

No service papers have been found for this soldier.

He enlisted into the L.N.L. Regiment on 22nd April 1914 and was amongst the first of the 5th battalion to go to France on 12th February 1915.

On the 1st July 1916 at the opening of the battle of the Somme the battalion had not been engaged, they were in the trenches at Bellacourt and had mainly been employed on working parties. They were however to take part in the action at Guillemont 8th – 9th August 1916 when they suffered 131 killed, wounded and missing. The battalion also took many casualties from enemy fire throughout September whilst being used for salvage work and engaged as burial parties on the edges of Delville Wood after the major battle at that place.

With the change to the army numbering system in 1917 his number changed to 240379.

He was one of 140 men who on the 9th January 1917 marched to spare land near to Ypres prison and practiced their actions that would be put into effect the next day, watched by the Divisional Commander who afterwards expressed his approval of their display, the area today is close by the site of the CWGC Ypres Reservoir Cemetery.

On the 10th January 1917 the men, divided into two groups the left and right parties, both had Bangalore torpedoes to cut any obstructing enemy wire. The left party under the command of Lt Robert Keith Makant MC would assemble at 15.00hrs at Lone Farm and the right party under 2nd Lt John Cecil Frankland at Prowse Farm. They moved onto to their jump off point a ditch running S.E from Argyle Farm and at 17.15hrs they left their trenches and approached the enemy defences. The right party was immediately met by a heavy machine gun fire and artillery, a single shell accounted for both Bangalore parties of this group as they moved together, all became casualties.

2nd Lt Frankland had been killed and the reserve officer 2nd Lt Charles Warburton Whitaker who had also been wounded gave the order to retire as the wire they encountered had not been cut and they no longer had the means to destroy it. The left party had gained their objective and was successful in their attempts in the enemy trenches though the raid had been costly.

Of the officers 1 had been killed and 2 wounded and of the other ranks 7 had been killed and 49 wounded with 4 missing presumed dead, of the wounded some would later die of their wounds.

His particular act of bravery has been lost to history with the destruction of the MM citations in WWII with the exception of the below newspaper item.
The award of his M.M. appeared in the Wigan Examiner of 10th March 1917.

Sjt David Robinson Loyal North Lancashire Regiment has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct on January 10th at Ypres. In a letter to him from his Commanding Officer Lt Gen Sir Aylmer Hunter Weston KCB DCS says ‘I heartily congratulate you upon the honour done you by His Majesty the King in awarding you the Military Medal for your gallant conduct on 10th January 1917’. Robinson enlisted on commencement of the war and has been in France 2 years. He formerly lived at 424 Liverpool Road, Platt Bridge and employed as a haulage hand at Crompton and Shawcross colliery Hindley.

For his WW1 service Robinson qualified for a 1914 – 15 star trio of medals and was also awarded the Silver War Badge No: 04013 for wounds sustained.

For the Weiltje Trench Raid main index please CLICK HERE.

Garry Farmer
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