Ernest Robinson

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom

General information

Homestead farmer
Not stated

Army information

Canadian Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
 —  Canadian Infantry, 5th Bn. (Western Cavalry)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Kriegslazarett 123, Roeselare, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Points of interest 5

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of wounding
#5 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Ernest Robinson was born in Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, on 1 September 1894. Ernest was one of nine children, the third-oldest son of Robert Robinson and Mary Armitage Robinson. The Robinson family emigrated to Canada in September 1904 and eventually settled in late 1905 on a homestead on Island Lake in Hillsdale Municipality, Battleford District, Saskatchewan. At 18, Ernest applied for his own homestead, near the Little Pine First Nation, home to the Plains Cree in Saskatchewan, but with the threat of war, that dream was postponed. Ernest enlisted in Winnipeg Manitoba a week before Christmas 1914. He left for Europe and was assigned to the 5th Canadian Infantry Battalion, 2nd Canadian brigade, of the 1st Canadian Division in early May 1915.

After heavy fighting in late April 1915, the Canadian Division was relieved on the Ypres front. On 5 May, the 5th Battalion left its positions on the Ypres canal and travelled to Vlamertinge, where it received reinforcements. After a period of rest and training at Outtersteene, near Bailleul, France, the battalion became involved in the Battle of Festubert. On 19 May, they went into the reserve trenches. On 22 May, they were ordered to leave the trenches and bivouac in an orchard near the front line. In the early evening of 23 May, the 5th Battalion was ordered to attack stronghold "K.5" at dawn. The men left at midnight and attacked the German communications trench and front line in front of K.5 at 2.45am on 24 May. They made their way through the communications trench, using hand grenades. After using bridges to cross a 10-metre-wide ditch filled with water, the 5th Battalion managed to take K.5 and a German trench to its left and right. The men dug in among the ruins of the trench. Repeated attempts by the Germans to counterattack were stopped by artillery fire. The 5th Battalion was relieved around 1 am by the Lord Strathcona's Horse, who continued the attack north-east of K.5 on 25 May, armed with gas bombs. The 5th Battalion suffered heavy losses. From 19 May to midnight 24 May alone, 61 were killed, 275 wounded and 21 missing. The battalion remained in reserve until 26 May, when it marched back to its quarters.

Ernest Robinson was wounded and later reported missing after the attack at Festubert on 24 May 1915. On 22 October 1915, the German government reported that Ernest had been captured and transferred to Kriegslazarette 123, in the Klein Seminarie, a Catholic college in Roeselare, Belgium. He died there by poisoning on 26 May 1915. This is possibly a clerical error. According to Red Cross records, a certain E. Robinson died in German captivity on 26 May 1915. He was buried in Roeselare in grave 657, number 730 on the plan, which translates as German Grave No. 730 on the CWGC list of the Roulers Communal Cemetery. During World War I, Roeselare was occupied by the Germans from 19 October 1914 to 14 October 1918. POWs and soldiers of the Commonwealth, France and Belgium were buried in the communal cemetery. If we put the list of names of the Roeselare municipal cemetery next to it, we see that Charles Robinson, service number 15941, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers is buried in German Grave No. 730. According to Red Cross records, Charles Robinson died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest on 26 May 1915 in Kriegslazarett 123, at Roeselare, the day after his battalion was forced to retreat after heavy fighting at Shell Trap Farm, also known as Mouse Trap Farm, between St Julien and Ypres. It remains unclear whether two Robinsons died at Kriegslazarett 123 on 26 May 1915 or whether it was a name change. Either way, Ernest Robinson went missing at Festubert on 24 May 1915 and has no known grave to date. He is commemorated at the Menin Gate.

Connection to other soldiers 1

Charles Robinson 
Possible name change at Red Cross burial records

Files 6


Ernest Robinson


Sources 6

Nicholson G.W.L., Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919 : Official history of the Canadian army in the First World War (Ottawa, Department of National Defence, 1964) p. 97-103.
Sources used
Personnel Records of the First World War (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 8381 - 59).
Sources used
Prisoners of the First World War, the ICRC archives (International Committee of the Red Cross archives, Geneva (ICRC), ACICR, C G1).
Sources used
War diaries: 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG9-III-D-3, Volume number: 4884, Microfilm reel number: T-10680--T-10681, File number: 247).
Sources used
War Graves Registers: Circumstances of Death (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC), RG 150, 1992-93/314; Volume Number: 233).
Sources used
War Graves Registry: Commonwealth War Graves (Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (LAC): RG150, 1992-1993/314, Box 39-244; Box: 116).
Sources used