The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (24) Driver James Edgar Robinson, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Armentieres
Accession Number AWM2016.2.154
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 2 June 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on (24) Driver James Edgar Robinson, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

** Due to technical issues this recording is of poor quality and not for public display **

Film order form
Speech transcript

24 Driver James Edgar Robinson, 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 2 July 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 2 June 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Driver James Edgar Robinson.

James Robinson was born in 1893 in Taringa, Queensland, to George and Margaret Robinson. He attended Taringa State School and grew up in the area. Later his family moved to Toowoomba, and he gained employment here as a grocer.

Robinson enlisted just weeks after the First World War began, on 19 August 1914. He was one of the first people posted to the 9th Battalion at Enoggera. After a brief period of training Robinson, now a lance corporal, embarked with his battalion in September aboard the transport ship Omrah.

Arriving in Egypt in December, the men helped to set up Mena Camp before continuing their training in the desert. Periods of leave were spent exploring Cairo and its surrounds. In early March 1916 the 3rd Brigade, of which the 9th Battalion was part, sailed to Lemnos in preparation for the Gallipoli campaign.

Robinson was among the first wave of men ashore on Gallipoli in the pre–dawn hours of 25 April. Several hard weeks of fighting followed as the Australians struggled to maintain their positions. The 9th Battalion was involved in holding off a major Ottoman counter-attack in May, after which the southern end of the Anzac line changed very little.

In July Robinson fell ill and was briefly evacuated to Lemnos. Though he was soon back with the battalion, two days later he was evacuated again, this time with a serious fever. By the end of the month he was shipped to England for treatment and recovery.

Robinson returned to Gallipoli in early September and remained there until the battalion was withdrawn to Lemnos in November. Next month he was hospitalised with the beginnings of influenza and dysentery. He spent the next few months in hospital in Egypt, re-joining his battalion in time to sail for France and the Western Front.

The 9th Battalion was sent to the “nursery” sector near Armentières and went into the front line for the first time that May. In June a raiding party was organised by Captain Maurice Wilder Neligan for an attack on German positions at the Sugarloaf. Robinson was one of those who volunteered for the raid. Intense training took place in the weeks leading up to the raid and nightly patrols in no man’s land were conducted to familiarise the men with the ground at night.

Towards midnight on 1 July the raiders split into three parties and set out. Robinson was in the right flank company and would have been tasked with recovering weapons and materiel from the German trenches.

The raid lasted a matter of minutes before the signal to retire was given. One of Robinson’s comrades saw him in the trenches at that time, but when the raiders returned to their own lines Robinson was missing. A court of inquiry later found him to have been killed in action in the early hours of 2 July. He was 23 years old.

His name was added to the Memorial to the Missing at Villers-Bretonneux. He is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Driver James Edgar Robinson, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section