1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Arthur James Robinson

Contributed by: Ninety Years of Remembrance, on 2008-11-05

Arthur James Robinson
First Name Arthur James
Surname Robinson
Year of Birth Unknown
Year of Death 1918
Regiment Royal Flying Corps
Place of Wartime Residence Wood Lea, Hetlon-le-hole, Durham

Arthur James's Story

2nd Lieutenant Robinson joined the Royal Flying Corps first as a motorcycle despatch rider and air mechanic at Farnborough in November 1915. He then trained as a pilot and officer at St Leonards on Sea, Sussex before going to Chaumes, France with 55 Squadron from where he took part in many raids into German territory.

Enclosed letter to be opened if I am made a prisoner of war

Saturday 31.8.18

Dear people

Greeting! [...] I am not going to send on letters everyday, as if I was captured by the enemy it would be very annoying for you not to get letters as before, and also, the Huns don't allow you to write for about 6 weeks and I believe. I don't expect being made a prisoner of course, but it is quite possible as 3 machines went down in Hunland yesterday and Laing (one of the fellows who came out with me) went down amongst them. There is still Dunn and I left.

Last night we had a jolly fine raid. They dropped 14 bombs near the aerodrome. Three just 50 yards away. One or two didn't burst and we are using one outside the mess now. First they sent down a parachute flare (which is made of magnesium in a candle and attached to a parachute) which lit the place up for miles, then when he saw where he was he dropped his pills. Everybody had the 'wind up' except a pal and myself who were visiting a French aerodrome about a mile away and on higher ground. [...] Nearly all the bombs dropped on 'Greenfields,' a place which both the enemy and ourselves often bomb I'm afraid.

That's about all just now,

Yours as ever

Arthur James


Wednesday 11.9.18

Dear people,

Don't get the wind up! This is only in case. It means that my chances of escape are much better as there is an address of a person inside whose job it is to help us when prisoners. Also a code, but that is all.

I am hoping for a letter tonight as it has been raining all day and looks rather as though it will continue for a day or so and letters rather lighten one's day. I am expecting a parcel that John talked about also.

So! and my expectations have been fulfilled - a postcard from John, one from Kath, a parcel, and a copy of Motor Cycling. John's postcard shows that he has changed his mind again and intends training to Whitby.

It has been raining etc for three days and looks like continuing; we don't mind much of course and I suppose that the Germans are in the same mind about it.

That's all now so won't write more,



Enclosed letter to be opened if I am made a prisoner of war:

Dear Father,

I suppose that I will be a prisoner of war, and as I don't want to be, I am enclosing a code by which I will let you know of anything that I want that will assist in my escape. When you get any letters look for this code and send a copy of the message to Capt Charles, Graven House, Northumberland Avenue, London.

He is there to assist prisoners of war. The code is very simple and just consists of not joining a letter to other letters in the same word. For example - MAPS.

I must have plenty of chocolates.

By the way prisoners in Germany would starve without plenty of food so send lots of chocolate, malted milk tablets, oxo cubes and such things.

Much love


P.S. You may get a message that you can't quite understand, but try to look at if from the standpoint of one who doesn't want the censor to know the message.

2nd Lieutenant Robinson was killed in action during the R.A.F.'s ambitious raids into Germany in late September 1918. His memorial grave and that of his observer (Bill Burnett) is in Chambreux Military Cemetery, Metz.

Published by the BBC with permission from the Imperial War Museum. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders. The IWM would be grateful for any information leading to copyright holders whose details are not currently known.

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