Lt Cdr E G Robinson VC

by Rob Allen

Eric Gascoigne Robinson was born on 16th May 1882 at 1 Diamond Terrace, Greenwich, to John Robinson and Louisa Robinson nee Gascoigne.  His father was Chaplain to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Along with his elder siblings, Mary and Ernest, Robinson lived comfortably in Greenwich and later Lewisham.

In 1897, at the age of 15, Robinson joined the Royal Navy. He saw action at the Boxer Rebellion in China, the First World War, the Russian Civil War and Second World War. He served in China, the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean, and the Caspian Sea and served on various vessels including submarines. Throughout his long career, he was bestowed with numerous awards and medals including an O.B.E in 1919.

On 8th July 1913, Robinson married Edith Cordeux in Nottinghamshire and together they had two sons and one daughter.  Edith died in 1938.

In 1915, Robinson won the Victoria Cross after taking out two enemy gun batteries single-handedly near Kum Kale, Dardanelles. He was awarded his VC by King George V, at Buckingham Palace on 5th October 1915.

Sadly the year before, on 15th October 1914, Robinson’s elder brother, Lieutenant Ernest Robinson was killed in action when his ship, the H.M.S. Hawke, was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Scotland. He was 34 years old and left behind a wife.

Robinson suffered further loss during the Second World War. His youngest son, Edward Cordeaux Robinson, died aboard the HMS Neptune on 19th December 1941. The HMS Neptune capsized and sank after hitting mines of the coast of Tripoli. Initially, thirty crew members survived the sinking out of a crew of 767. But when the Neptune’s lifeboat was picked up days later, there was only one survivor. Edward was 19. Less than a year later, on 25th June 1942, his eldest son, Patrick John Nobel Robinson, serving in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, was killed aged 28.

After over forty five years in the service, Eric retired having attained the rank of Rear Admiral. He died peacefully on 20th August 1965 at the Royal Navy Hospital Haslar, Hampshire. He is buried nearby in St John's Church Hampshire.

Lt Cdr E G Robinson VC

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