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William Alfred Robinson enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at the Burnley recruitment office on 15th July 1916. At the time of his enlistment he was 31 years 10 months old, indicating he was born around September 1884.

William listed his wife, Rhoda Robinson as his next of kin, their address was 8 Albert Street, Padiham, Burnley. He had previously been employed as a painter decorator. In the 1911 census, they were living next door, at number 10 Albert Street, they had no children.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 5ft 5in tall, weighing 133lbs and of good physical development. I was noted that his Molar teeth needed dental attention, but he was deemed fit for service. William had brown hair and blue eyes.

On 13th November 1916, William set sail from Folkstone, and landed in Boulogne to join the 1st Battalion in the field. The following month he was admitted into the field hospital suffering problems with his feet.

On the 20th April 1917, William was wounded in action, he had suffered a gunshot resulting in a flesh wound to the upper part of his right arm. William transited through several Field Ambulances, Field Hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations before being sent back to England.

Back in England he spent 121 days at the Kings Lancashire military convalescent hospital in Blackpool.

That October, no longer fit to serve at the front, William was transferred to 349th Protection Company, of the Royal Defence Corps at Felixstowe. His new service number being 68665.

The following month he was posted to 12th Battalion, Royal Defence Corps based in Oswestry.

It would appear that William made a fuller than expected recovery, as on 29th March 1918 he sailed from Dover to Calais and was transferred back to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, this time the 9th Battalion.

Unfortunately for William, less than a month after returning to France, on 10th April 1918, he was admitted to hospital having been ‘blown up with a shell’ and had concussion. Again he transited through a number of medical facilities before being sent to St Martins No 5 rest camp in Boulogne; he was by now also suffering from influenza.

A month later, 25th May, he rejoined his Battalion.

On 13th June 1918 he was readmitted to hospital, suffering the effects of shell shock; on 19th June he embarked on the hospital ship Grantully castle bound for the UK.



Back in the UK, at Warrington, the medical officer made the following observations;

Complained of frontal headache, slept fairly well, tremors of fingertips and eyelids, voice weak, jumped when heard a certain voice. Reflexes exaggerated.


William was diagnosed with neurasthenia, and on 21st February 1919 was discharged as no longer fit for military service. He was issued Silver War Badge number B140418.

William was granted a pension of 8/3 for 26 weeks due to an assessed 20-30% disability; the medical officer stated it would be 6 months before William would stop having bad dreams and return to full health. After the first 26 weeks his pension would drop to 5/6 for another 26 weeks.

In February 1920 it was deemed the were no grounds for a further pension, but he was awarded a £5 gratuity.

William Alfred Robinson died in 1954.

Paul McCormick
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