Prescot Roll of Honour

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WW1 Casualty: Private 29928 Edward Robbins -

Private 29928 Edward Robbins

Unit/Regiment 11th Bn., South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death 21/03/1918 Age at Death 20
& Reference
Pozieres Memorial
Panel 48 and 49
CWGC Family Details (if shown) Son of Henry and Harriett Ann Robbins, of 32, Platt's Bridge, Whiston, Prescot, Lancs
Census Details 1911 -
The Robbins family lived at Great Saughall, near Chester. Henry (A Farm Labourer) and Harriett were joined by children Edward (12), Annie (10), Maggie (8) and Janet (3)
Enlisted St Helens, Lancs
Resided Prescot, Lancs
How Died Killed In Action Theatre of War France & Flanders
Research Ref. No. P241

Service Details

The 11th (Service) Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment was formed in September 1914 from the third contingent of volunteers called for by Lord Kitchener.

Initial training took place on Salisbury Plain and in early 1915, the Battalion became a 'Pioneer' Battalion with the 30th Division. It had been decided that each of the New Army divisions should have an extra battalion included in its establishment to carry out road-making and other semi-technical work frequently called for in the field. The 11th Battalion was known as the 'St Helens Pioneers' in honour of the fact that the majority of the men came from St Helens.

The Battalion finally left for France in November 1915, disembarking at Le Havre on the 7th. The Battalion strength was 30 officers and 1,007 other ranks.

They served for the remainder of 1915 in the Somme Valley, carrying out work in the trenches. They suffered a few casualties, mainly to German snipers, but otherwise their first few weeks in the field proved uneventful.

In the Spring and early Summer of 1916, the Battalion were heavily involved in preparations for the forthcoming Somme offensive. As a Pioneer Battalion, this was an exceptionally busy time.

This work continued throughout the remainder of the year and into 1917.

Ultimately, in May 1917 the Battalion moved to Palace Camp, near Dickebusch in Flanders. They were now in the infamous Ypres Salient. Although their main tasks were the construction of roads and light railways, they were involved in the construction of fire trenches, and in fact were tasked with this on their first night in the line.

The battalion was based in a school to the east of Ypres in an area know to be 'an unhealthy spot'. They stayed there until 13th June when severe casualties were caused by salvoes of high explosives and gas shells. They moved on the 14th to new dugouts on the railway embankment, but these were under fire just as much as the school.

In June, casualties were 2 officers and 17 other ranks killed, with 3 officers and 126 other ranks wounded. Almost all of the casualties were incurred whilst in their billets, which illustrates how dangerous it was, even out of the front line.

In July, the battalion were heavily involved in preparations for the forthcoming offensive, which came to be know as the Third Battle of Ypres. More commonly, it is known as Passchendaele. Much of the battalion's work was on the communications systems, and they were heavily attacked by German artillery.

The battalion fought throughout the battle and finally left the Salient on 6th August, moving to Spy Farm Camp. They stayed there until the first week of November when they moved to the Zillebeke sector, where they remained until the end of the year.

Although December was an uneventful time by battalion standards, they still lost 4 men killed, with 2 officers and 20 other ranks wounded.

Early in the New Year of 1918, the battalion moved south to the Oise river, where they had a peaceful time, without any casualties, until the beginning of March. They then moved to the Savy-Roupy sector of France. They were now directly in the path of the great German spring offensive of 1918!

On the morning of the 21st March, a furious bombardment broke out all along the front, marking the onset of the German advance. The battalion was ordered to withdraw at 3p.m., having incurred heavy casualties, and they moved to a location just north of Ham.

Private Robbins was almost certainly killed in the bombardment and his body was never identified. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial.

The Register of Soldiers Effects listed Edward's father, Henry, as next of kin

The Medal Rolls reported Edward as serving with the 7th Battalion of the Regiment. It isn't clear when he transferred to the 11th Battalion

Edward Robbin's Medal Index Card. His entitlement was to the British War Medal and Victory Medal

Edward Robbin's inscription on the Pozieres Memorial

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