4657 241616 Pte Joseph Archibald Robinson

A December 1915 recruit who served in Ireland and was captured on 21st March 1918

Joseph Archibald Robinson was born in Bakewell, Derbyshire on the 27th December 1895. He was the eldest of 5 children born to Frederick and Helena Robinson. By 1911 the family had moved to Spa Lane in Chesterfield. Joseph – aged 15 – was a telegraph messenger.

Robinson Census 1911

Joseph enlisted into the 3/6th (or 2/6th) Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment in late December 1915/early January 1916. His 4-digit service number was most likely 4657. It is highly likely that Joesph served in Ireland during the Easter Rising of 1916.

The 2/6th Battalion marched out of No. 6 Camp at Hurdcott (Fovant) on 25th February and proceeded to Folkstone where they proceeded to Boulogne.

On the 21st March 1918 the Germans launched their Spring ‘Kaiserschlacht’ offensive and the 2/6th – like the rest of the 178th Bde of the 59th Division – were effectively annihilated. 

But what happened to Joseph?

On the 21st April 1918 Joseph’s mother – Helena – sent a request to the War Office enquiring about her son Joseph, who she had (presumably) not heard from for a while.

A very worried mum. 

Joseph was reported as ‘missing’ – along with 657 other men of the 2/6th.

On the 27th March 1918 Joseph was able to send a ‘Pro-Forma’ card to Helena informing her that he was a POW – but alive and well! 

It clearly took a while to arrive in Chesterfield – see paragraph.

Joseph eventually found himself interned in Dulman POW camp and was able to send a photo back to his mother…. 

“Dear Mother, how do you like me in my ‘Gefangeners’…….”

Joseph – along with other men of the BEF – was released from captivity and returned to the UK. I have not traced his name on any repatriation lists, but man of the 2/6th men captured on the 21st March were repatriated in November and December 1918.

Joseph was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Joseph married Ada Elizabeth Yeomans at the Parish Church in Chesterfield on 2nd August 1920.

After the War Joseph served as a Special Constable (his father was a Railway Policeman) rising to the rank of Sergeant. 

He was awarded the The Special Constabulary Long Service Medal (George VI issue) for 10 years service.