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Sergeant-Major Robinson joined the 2nd Connaught Rangers in 1877 and fought at the Battle of Ulundi during the Zulu War. The following year, he took part in the Sekujunia War to soon be followed by the First South African War. Robinson was transferred to the Dublin Fusiliers in 1883 and did garrison duty in Ireland and India. This in turn was followed by another transfer to the Natal Volunteers with whom he served during the Second South African War from 1899-1902. A change of continent came due, and Robinson moved to British Columbia in 1903 where he joined the militia and eventually the Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles in 1912. In his civil career, he was the Chief of Police for the Pacific Great Eastern Railway.
At the start of the Great War, he joined the 7th Battalion, C.E.F. as a Platoon Serjeant (at 57!) where with his company on April 24,1915 near Keerselaere, he earned, for his actions, the D.C.M. After being gassed at Ypres, he was sent to England and returned to the Battalion after only 22 days (what a strong constitution this fellow had!) to become Company Serjeant-Major. Still not completely recovered, he ended up with bronchitis resulting in a transfer to the 4th Army School as an instructor followed by another transfer to England to train reinforcements. He was sent back to Canada in July 1916 by a medical board.
Returning to Vancouver, he engaged in recruiting drives, public speeches, etc. as he obviously was no someone to sit at home while a war was going on. Finally in 1917, at the age of 60. he managed to join the Railway Construction and Forestry Corps and was made Company Serjeant-Major but was declared unfit for war service in September and returned back to B.C.
Robinson, after the war, continued to serve with the Regiment as the Regimental Serjeant-Major.
Source:Regimental history, "Swift and Strong"
Source - Vancouver Sun, October 31, 1933 [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
The original artical
"JIMMY" ROBINSON DIES OF STROKE
VETERAN OF MANY WARS
WON D.C.M. AT YPRES
A colorful war-time figure passed away Monday night with the death of Capt. James Robinson, D.C.M., known throughout Canada as Sergt Major "Jimmy" Robinson.
He was suffering the effects of a second stroke which occurred a few days ago.
He was removed to the General Hospital and died within a day of his 78th birthday which he would have celebrated today and for which his widow, the only survivor, had prepared a birthday cake to celebrate the occasion.
Capt. Robinson commenced his military service in 1877 at his birthplace, Portadown, Northern Ireland. His first experience under fire was in 1879 in the Zulu War in South Africa.
He again saw service in the first Boer War, 1880-1881.
In 1885 he proceeded to India with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and later saw further active service in the second Boer War.
In Canada he had served in the Rocky Mountain Rangers, the Westminster Fusiliers and the Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles in Vancouver.
FOR BRAVERY IN THE FIELD
On the outbreak of the war he went over as an original member of the 7th Battalion , C.E.F.
He received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery in the field at the second battle of Ypres in 1915 being one of the first Canadians to receive this decoration and the first to return with it to Vancouver before the end of the war.
He was well known as a recruiting figure in the last days of the war both here and in New York with Lord and Lady Aberdeen.
For several years past he had served in the British Columbia regiment and was closely associated with the returned soldiers, being made an honorary vice president of the Dominion Command, Canadian Legion, B.E.S.L.
RETIRED 18 MONTHS AGO
Until his retirement 18 months ago he was chief constable for the Vancouver Harbor Commissioners' Police.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced but in view of the extensive army service of Capt. Robinson and his connection with soldiers' activities, it is expected that military honors will be accorded him.
The body is resting at Center & Hanna's funeral parlors."
His first set of attestation papers were with the 7th Battalion as 16269, and his previous experience is listed as 6 years with the Connaught Rangers, 6 years with the Dublin Fusiliers, 4 years Colonial Division (not sure what that was), and 2 years with the 6th Regiment, Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles. He indicated he was in possession of a Zulu war medal plus Queen and King's South African medal (Boer War). On top of that he worked as Chief of Police for the P.G.E. (Pacific Great Eastern Railway in BC, ?). He must have been invalided back to Canada due to being gassed and re-enlisted as 2161071, with the Railway Construction and Forestry Depot
Distinguished Conduct Medal (London Gazette, Issue 29503, 11 March 1916, link) with the following citation: [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
For conspicuous gallantry. In the progress of a heavy enemy attack, a mistaken order was passed through the trenches ordering retirement. As the men started to leave their position, Serjeant Robinson got them back, and with great coolness and bravery kept them in their places. He has invariably exhibited great bravery and devotion, and, in spite of his age, fifty-eight years, has always exhibited the greatest cheerfulness under dangerous conditions and trying times.
Robinson lived in Vancouver, BC and was born in Portadown, County Armagh, Ireland. He sounds like quite the character! I wonder if his medals survived and ended up in the British Columbia Regiments' Regimental museum Vancouver.
Source:Canadian Expeditionary Force Study Group