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Harry Hesketh Kay Robinson

Rank: Captain

Lifetime: 1892-1918

Kay Robinson

Captain Harry Hesketh Kay Robinson pictured in a hurdle race at Gresham's School in 1907

Captain Harry Hesketh Kay Robinson of the 5th Battalion (attached to 16th Battalion) of the Rifle Brigade died, aged 26, on 26 March 1918. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial. He was the son of Edward Kay Robinson and Florence Theresa Robinson of Warham, Hampton Wick (now 8 Glamorgan Road).

According to the 1901 Census, Harry who was nine at the time (which accords with his date of birth given as 26 February 1892 in his obituary in the 1 June 1918 edition of his school magazine The Gresham) had been born in India. He lived in the parish of Warham St Mary in Norfolk with his father (then aged 43); his mother (34); older brother Julian P Robinson (12) and baby Warham (10 months), together with three servants.

According to his obituary contained in his old school magazine referred to above, Harry entered Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk in May 1902 leaving in December 1909. After he left school, he became a rubber planter in Malaya joining the Malay Volunteers.

His father, Edward Kay Robinson, was a journalist and helped to popularise natural history studies. He founded the British Empire Naturalists’ Association in 1905 and, as an editor at Lahore of the Civil and Military Gazette, had encouraged Rudyard Kipling in his early years. The Robinson family appears to have relocated to Hampton Wick between 1911 and 1913. They must have renamed their home at 8 Glamorgan Road, Hampton Wick, as “Warham” after the village in Norfolk in which they had previously lived and after which they had had named one of their children.

Captain Harry Hesketh Kay Robinson returned to England in January 1917 joining the army on 26 March 1917 with a commission. He joined a Cadet Battalion at Lichfield from which he was “gazetted to the Rifle Brigade”. He was sent to the France in September 1917 but was killed in action on 26 March 1918 near Frise, a village on the Somme.

He rose quickly to the rank of Captain and, according to his obituary in The Surrey Comet dated 13 April 1918, his Colonel and brother officers testified to his “fine work and personal qualities”. Captain Kay Robinson was killed within 5 days of the commencement of the final German Spring Offensive. At the time of his death his Battalion was holding a broken trench enfiladed by a German machine gun being fired at from all directions all day long.

According to his obituary,Captain Robinson’s elder brother, Julian, had served through both campaigns in Africa and was the author of a book on the campaign in German West Africa entitled “With Botha’s Army”.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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