J. Robinson is believed to have been born around the year 1899. Even with this limited information from the college archives it has not been possible to positively identify him from birth and census records of the period. His education at Wellington College is also believed to be between the years 1910-15.
It is understood that he served as a First-Lieutenant within The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment. However, the regimental archivist has found no trace of an officer by this name and initial who served with the regiment, and who was killed during the First World War, a fact confirmed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [CWGC].
The County of Yorkshire provided five regiments, so the possibility exists that Robinson served with one of the other county regiments, or indeed any regiment for that matter. An officer did not necessarily stay with the Battalion/Regiment into which he was first commissioned; this might be due to individual choice or the needs of the War Office as the war progressed and the casualties mounted.
Despite an extensive search of CWGC records, and the old War Office files, it has not proved possible to positively identify Robinson from the information available and therefore the accuracy or otherwise of his regimental service. His place of burial and date of death remain unknown, but the college believe it to be c.1917.
Another intriguing possibility exists. The original memorial plaque in the school chapel, erected in 1922, lists the name of J. Robinson, Lt. W. Yorks Regt, but not the name of Lt. Donald Robinson, also of the W. Yorks Regt [subsequently added in the early 2000’s]. Is it the case that these two individuals are in fact one and the same person? After all they share the same surname [although not related to one another in any way that can be found], the same regiment, same rank, and believed by the school to share the same year of death; 1917. At the time the plaque was being commissioned did the initial ‘D’ become a ‘J’ by mistake? Is there a definitive piece of evidence out there somewhere that would either prove or disprove this theory one way or another?
Any knowledge of, or indeed further information, that would assist in the positive identification, of J. Robinson would be much appreciated by the author. Please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robinson would have qualified for both the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In addition if he entered a theatre of war between 5th August 1914 and 22nd November 1914 he would have qualified for The 1914 Star. The 1914-15 Star was for those personnel who entered a theatre of war prior to 31st December 1915 and who did not qualify for the former medal.
The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment is perpetuated today in 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.