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Corpl. JohnUrket Braylock ROBSON


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I am trying to research Corporal John Urket Braylock Robson, No. 197, who was

killed while serving with the 35th Nattalion, the Australian Infantry on the 29th of

July 1917.

He came from New Seaham, County Durham and I guess he must have moved

to Australia sometime prior to the start of the Great War.

I have downloaded his service papers from the Australian Archive website, but

was stuck on a few things.

First, on the Casualty Active Service form he is commended (LAUDATORY) on the

18th of March 1917 when he was one of a Lewis Gun crew who were detailed for

Special Duty on the night of the 13th Inst.

Is this like a MID or is this different?

Also what does Inst mean after the date? I assume the action was in March?

It then mentioned he was attached to the 9th MG Company on the 6/6/17 before

being "detached" to the 35th Bn on the 22/6/17. Why would he have been moved for

this short space of time?

Any information about this man or the units he served with would be great. Do the Australians

have War Diaries? If so where can I access them and would they tell me more about the action

in which he was killed and the action on the 13th of March. I have posted a section of the service

record below that might help.



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Ok. I thought that was the case but was a little unsure.

I am not sure if the date is the 13th or the 18th as it appears to

have been changed on the form or overwritten when it was originally

filled in.


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Hi John

The 35th Battalion does have a war diary at the Australian War Memorial. They are currently digitising all the WW1 unit diaries to put on the web and they are currently doing the infantry battalions.

They haven't done the 35th Bn yet but it will be worth keeping check on the following page.


Hopefully the 9th MG Company will come on line before too long so that might have a bit more about him.



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Hi Johnnie

Attempting to answer some of your questions, I put together the following:

ROBSON, John Urket Braylock, 197, 35th Bn, 9th Bde, 3rd Div

Born c1889 New Seaham, Durham, England, son of Margaret & James Robson of New Seaham, England

In the AWM Roll of Honour circular, his father states that he moved to Australia at age 22, and he was 28 at time of death in 1917 – therefore he was born c1889 and came to Australia c1911.

The R of H also mentions his comradeship with Thomas Blackwell (MM) – POW. Thomas, who was also in the 35th Bn, sailed to England with John on the Benalla. He was highly commended for his actions 28/29th July 1917 – probably the same action in which John was killed.

“The CO has pleasure in highly commending this man at Messines on night of the 28/29th July. Pte Blackwell displayed conspicuous courage and gallantry in handling the Lewis Guns during enemy attack. Three out of four guns in his co.’s sector were put out of action by enemy fire. On the remaining gun being placed out of action Pte Blackwell by dismantling other guns was able to get his gun going again. The task of getting from one gun emplacement to another under very severe fire was a very difficult one. Pte Blackwell’s gun played a very important part in breaking enemy’s advance, his work in re-arranging his gun, action, and bearing generally was of the highest order.”

[blackwell went missing 12/10/1917 – was found to be POW – repatriated, he had a leg amputated in England, returned to Australia, and died in 1951]

Laudatory – is possibly just a commendation within the battalion (?) – probably not the same as mentioned in dispatches otherwise he’d be listed as MID.

Although the Battalion War Diaries aren’t on-line yet – a lot can still be gleaned from the Brigade Diaries, which are on line.

On the 13th March 1917 at Armentieres, the 44th Bn (11th Bde, 3rd Div) carried out a fairly big raid on the enemy lines just north of the Lille Railway line. Contributory action was supplied by the Lewis gun section of the 35th Battalion. They fired on no man’s land as follows:

(1) Two Lewis guns to fire parallel to and 50 yards South of the Lille Railway.

(2) Two Lewis guns to fire parallel to and 50 yards North of the road running S.E. from the N.E. corner of I.5.c.

These guns were intended to cover the flanks of the raiding party.

It was stated later in the 11th Bde diary: “The gaps in enemy wire were effectively kept open by most ardent co-operation of the 35th Bn and 9th Inf Bde M.G.’s.”

[The raid wasn't a success & cost more than 60 casualties - they were struggling against a quagmire in no man's land, an enemy counter-barrage, a water-filled ditch in front of the enemy line, etc etc]

Detached to 9th MG Coy, 9th Bde, 3rd Div 5/6/17 – 20/6/17:

John was possibly detailed for a ‘carrying party’, temporarily attached to the 9th MG Coy to carry Vickers Gun ammunition in the upcoming Battle of Messines. The battle began on the 7th, and the men reported to the OC before this to receive instruction in belt filling & general duties.

Check out the Brigade War Diaries for more info.

Cheers, Frev.

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Thanks for all the information on this. I'll follow up the Brigade War Diaries and keep an eye open for the

Battalion War diaries.


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  • 4 years later...

Hi mate,

For your interest, Thomas Blackwell was awarded an MM and also recommended for a Bar to his MM.

He was later POW and returned to England minus a leg.

His medals are in my collection.


(always interested in purchasing medal to the family name of BLACKWELL)

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