Trooper Arthur Robins - Auckland Mounted Rifles

'Arthur' Henry James Robins
I have taken the liberty of computer colourising the photo to see what Arthur Robins would have looked like in a world of colour film.
A HERO OF AYUN KARA

From Steve Butler

This short profile on Arthur Robins started with the one single photograph that was forwarded to the NZMRA by Jim Reardon from records he was searching through at the Waiuku Museum in South Auckland. As Jim stated at the time, no other material was associated with the old black and white photograph other than the written inscription on the back, that stated:
"Arthur Robins, 5th Reinforcements, AMR."
Initially I was a bit discouraged when I was unable to find any reference to an Arthur Robins in any of the search engines that are available on the internet, and I thought I was on the track of "one of those" lost soldier entries of World War One.
Curiosity was raised when I could only find a single entry of a 'Arthur Robins' and that man was listed as an Infantryman from Manawatu - However it was perfectly clear by the badges in the photo that this man (left) is an Auckland Mounted Rifleman - So, out came my copy of "The story of Two Campaigns" (limited free download HERE).
At the back of this book, which is the official history of the regiment, I looked up the casualties of both Gallipoli and Sinai. There to my surprise on page 262 is the record: "Wounded, Sinai Palestine" - 13/1087 Robins A., Tpr., 14.11.17.

With this result I now had a service number to work with and with a date reference of him being wounded in action I had the place of engagement. Arthur had been wounded during the famous battle which also included a charge directly into the face of the enemy called the "Action at Ayun Kara".
By entering the regimental number at the Cenotaph Search Engine I got a much better result - and an explanation as to why the forename of 'Arthur' had led me astray. (see record below).
For the Auckland Mounted Rifles, and indeed the whole brigade, the date 14th November 1917 is the greatest day of action carried out by the Mounteds. The attack on the strongly fortified Turkish trenches near the town of Richon le Zion in present day Israel is a story of guile, courage and great daring against a superior force. You may read references to the action of AYUN KARA written by Lieutenant Colonel McCarroll HERE.
The official history of the AMR states:
"The A.M.R. lost heavily, 15 being killed including Lieutenant J. D. Stewart, of the 3rd Squadron; 74 wounded, including Lieutenant Colonel McCarroll, Captain Twistleton, M.C. and Lieutenants K.J. Tait, M.C., S.C. Reid, G.L. King, C. G.R. Jackson, and E.A. H. Bisley. Captain Twistleton and Lieutenant King died of wounds..."
Also recorded further on: "...The W.M.R. lost 8 killed and 44 wounded; the C.M.R., one killed and six wounded; and the Machine Gun Squadron, eight killed and 18 wounded. The Turks, who retired during the night, lost 160 killed and 250 (estimated) wounded..."



LEST WE FORGET
Photo of gravestone provided by Paul F. Baker.

Unfortunately the plight and fate of many of those other '74' ordinary troopers is unrecorded. But it would appear that the wounding of Arthur Robins was severe - he returns home, but dies in Auckland less than a year after wars end in 1919, aged 25 years.

The resting place of Arthur Robins in the Waikaraka Cemetery in Auckland is marked by two headstones - one erected by the Military and another by his family.

Since writing this, one of our local historians Jack Baker, has recalled that in the Onehunga Mall there is a section of the street that is called "Robins Corner" - and he suggests that because of the families history relating to that area as seen in the record (right) - that perhaps the corner is named after one of Arthur's family, or indeed Arthur himself.
It is an interesting thought - perhaps an intrepid investigator out there will do some research?



Name: Trooper Henry James Robins
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Forename(s): Henry James
Surname: Robins
Also Known As: Arthur
War: World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.: 13/1087
Next of Kin: Josiah Robins (father), Onehunga, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Onehunga, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: 5th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 13 June 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Transport: HMNZT 24 or HMNZT 25 or HMNZT 26
Vessel: Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima
Place of Death: New Zealand
Date of Death: 29 November 1919
Age at Death: 25
Year of Death: 1919
Cemetery Name: Waikaraka Public Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand
Grave Reference: Area 1, Block G, Grave 84.
Biographical Notes: Arthur Robins was the son of Josiah and Annie Amelia Robins, of 65, Trafalgar St., Onehunga, Auckland. Served at Gallipoli and in Egypt.
Further References:
  • Search www.archway.archives.govt.nz for information about this person's Military Personnel File. Use the Simple Search option.