Robinsons the Great War.
As the mainly young men of Robinsons Hockey club run around in the vagaries of the English autumn weather of 2018, step back 100 years and we were in the late stage of The Great War, “the war to end all wars”.
Apart from a large number, mainly women, who worked at munitions, eight hundred and nine people from Robinsons factories, and there were a number of factories across Bristol, joined the forces. The War Memorial that once stood in the Redcliffe Street factory attests to the fact that ninety of them did not come back. The memorial now hangs in the under croft of the parish church of St Mary Redcliffe.
Whilst employees joined a number of regiments, “The Glosters” was the main draw for Bristolians. Sixteen battalions of the regiment saw active service in France and Flanders, Italy, Gallipoli, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia and Salonika, losing a total of 8,100 men killed and winning 72 different battle honours. Four awards of the Victoria Cross (VC) were made to soldiers serving with the regiment.
Among the surnames remembered on the Robinsons Memorial are a number that are familiar to members of the club even today.
Abraham G, Bennett E.C, Edwards H.T, Griffin F, Hares F.T, Robbins F.J, Shaw J, Smith E, some will be coincidence but some are local Bristol families and we know them and have played and play with the relatives of these men who died over a century ago.
Among those killed were two members of the Robinson family, Claude and Eric. It is a touching little tale that Eric Robinson (Captain in the Gloucester’s) was found mortally wounded in a shell hole by two employees of the company, then serving as stretcher bearers, and that he had just strength to murmur “Come on, Robinsons.”
It was some of those that came back, who late in 1919 formed Robinsons Men’s Hockey Club. So as 2018 draws to a close and we plan to celebrate 100 years of Robinson’s men’s hockey club our origins as a Bristol Factory side, we should remember “our comrades who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918”
Come on, Robinsons….
Captain Eric Robinson, died 10 September 1916 aged 32.