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Remembered Today:

GGrandfather George Robertson


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Hello all,

I am trying to find information on the journey of my GGrandfather George Robertson L/6558. He was killed in action 12/10/1914.

I have a copy of a letter sent to my GGrandmother saying that he was killed in action while defending the village Noyelles Les Vermelles, Pas de Calais. There he was buried along side fellow soldiers Bertram Ward and John Wickenden. In August i visited the graves of the above men who now rest in Philosophe Mazingarbe, It is beautifully kept.

On George Robertson's medal card it say the date of entry was the 12/10/1914, the same day he was killed, does that mean it was his first day in France?


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It would help if you could provide more detail as to what county/area he came from and resided etc...

The fact he served in the West Kent's doesn't necessarily mean he came from Kent.

Why not post the all the data you have here? That will avoid anyone duplicating your work and will enable someone to very kindly help you out here.

I have a copy of the West Kent's regimental history which can still be obtained from the Naval and Military Press (NMP) at a cost of about £22.

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On George Robertson's medal card it say the date of entry was the 12/10/1914, the same day he was killed, does that mean it was his first day in France?

If that date was entered correctly then yes - but I dont know how usual it woudl be for a reinforcement, even an experienced soldier, to join his unit in the Field on the same day he entered F&F. I think more likely this was confused with his date of death - but will happily stand corrected by soemone more knowledgible.

His service number L/6558 suggests a July or August 1902 enlistment. Possibly he became a reservist circa July 1914 (having served 12 years) and was then mobilised on outbreak of war and, if so, that would account for why he joined the battalion as a reinforcement if the 12/10/1914 date is correct for entry to F&F.

This account covers that period in the Regimental History:

On October 11 the forward move began. The 13 Brigade, now commanded by Brigadier General W B Hickie, who had replaced General Cuthbert (invalided) on October 2nd was for the first day’s march in corps reserve and followed uneventfully in the wake of the Fifth Division to Vaudricourt where it billeted. The orders for October 12 were for an advance NE of Bethune to the line Festubert – Fosse (see Sketch 7), with the Third Division on the left, the Fifth on the right, and the 13 Brigade again in Corps reserve. But the day was not far advanced when news came in that the Germans had driven the French out of Vermelles and that General Maudhui (G.O.C. 21me Corps) wanted British assistance for the counter attack he proposed to make. The 13 Brigade, which had reached Beuvry about 10 a.m. was therefore diverted to the right and given as its objective a line from NW of Vermelles through Burbure to Pont Fixe on the canal, the battalion being on the right had therefore next to the French. By 3 p.m. the Brigade had reached the position of deployment and the attack began. Directly the British moved forward, however, they came under a very heavy enfilade fire from the direction of Vermelles; they pushed on for some distance, but the fire was too hot and soon brought the attack to a standstill. The right flank was completely “in the air” for the expected French counter attack had never been launched, and without more support on the right the British could not get on; indeed, as the ridge which the leading line had reached was nicely ranged by the German machine guns, the battalion withdrew a little and dug in along a road running NE from Noyelles lez Vermelles, with some advanced trenches 200 yards further East, and this line was maintained, though after dark the Germans attempted a counter attack, which was successfully repulsed. (The battalion’s casualties on this day came to just under 50.) The Duke’s, on the battalion’s left, and the K.O.S.B.’s who were beyond them reaching to the canal, had been unable to get any further forward and had also to dig in as best they could. North of the canal also the Fifth Division had become engaged all along its line, which reached from Pont Fixe to Rue des Chavattes, whence the Third Division continued it Northward.

For the next day the 13 Brigade’s orders were to co-operate as before with the French counter attack on Vermelles. This was to be preceded by an artillery bombardment and while that was going on the infantry were to retain their positions. Actually this proved to be all that the RWK were called on to do all day; it was another unsatisfactory day.

On the right, the French made no progress against Vermelles, and until they got up level with its right the 13 Brigade could not move. On the left a German counter attack drove the right battalion of the 15 Brigade back to Pont Fixe, and in consequence the K.O.S.B.’s who had advanced a little, were checked. By 3 p.m. the 13 Brigade reported that it was heavily engaged along its whole front in a firefight, and not until after dark did the Germans abandon their efforts to push back the British line. After dark indeed A Company and the machine-guns, now under Lieut. Palmer, made a small advance to a rather better position. During the day General Hickie had been compelled to go sick, so Colonel Martyn became acting Brigadier and Major Buckle took his place in command of the battalion.

Do you have a photo of George Robertson?


Jonathan S

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Unfortunately i don't have a photograph of George Robertson. He was born in 1885 and lived in Bethnal Green, his occupation was a lamplighter.

These are his casualty details


Initials: G

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Date of Death: 12/10/1914

Service No: 6558

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. P. 7.


And his grave



Unfortunately this is all i know about my GGrandfather,


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