The AIF Project

Harry ROBBINS

Regimental number1107
Place of birthCastlemaine, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationTinsmith
Address39 Bell Street, Fitzroy, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 8.5"
Weight147 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs E Robbins, 63 Capel Street, West Melbourne, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date20 August 1914
Rank on enlistmentDriver
Unit nameField Artillery Brigade 2, Battery 5
AWM Embarkation Roll number13/30/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A9 Shropshire on 20 October 1914
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
12
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, 8 April 1915. Admitted to 17th General Hospital, Alexandria, 8 August 1915 (nasal catarrh). Embarked for England on HS 'Egypt', 15 September 1915; admitted to Fulham Military Hospital, 24 September 1915. Found guilty of being absent without leave, 8-12 April 1916: forfeited 5 days' pay. Found guilty, No. 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, of being absent without leave, noon, 31 July, to 8 pm, 4 August 1916: forfeited 5 days' pay.

Attached to AIF War Chest Club, 31 August 1916. Convicted at Westminster Police Court, 13 January 1917 on 2 charges of stealing money at the War Chest Club, Horsferry Road, London, whilst employed there: awarded 4 months' imprisonment; forfeited 129 days' pay.

Admitted to 1st Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 24 April 1917 (operation on nose); marched in to No. 1 Command Depot from Harefield, 19 May 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 19 June 1917. Marched out to 1st Division Artillery, 25 June 1917; taken on strength, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, 5 Battery, 27 June 1917; remustered as Gunner, Belgium, 24 July 1917.

Killed in action, 16 August 1917.

Statement by 29141 Pte F.C. PASKE, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 10 December 1917: 'I was with No. 1107 Gunner Robbins on August 16th 1917, in the Forward Observation Post, at a trench in the support line at Ypres directly in front of Zullebecke [sic]. At about 12 o'clock noon whilst we were in the dugout, a shell landed right at the door killing Private Robbins along with three others. I myself was wounded at the same time. There is no doubt whatsoever that Private Robbins was killed instantaneously, on the above date.' Statement by 1463 Gunner H.H. KIRKWOOD, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, 10 January 1918: 'On the 16th of August 1917 Gunner Robinson was with me in the locality of Ypres when we were both buried by a shell. To my knowledge Gunner Robinson was not dug out. He could not have been taken prisoner as no advance was made by the enemy.' Statement by 5551 Sergeant A. SWAN, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, 19 December 1917: '1107 Gunner Robbins H. met his death owing to a shell bursting close to the German block house where he was and the concrete falling in. A cross has already been placed beside the ruins to mark the place.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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