William Leefe Robinson

William Leefe Robinson

Birth
India
Death 31 Dec 1918 (aged 23)
Stanmore, London Borough of Harrow, Greater London, England
Burial Harrow Weald, London Borough of Harrow, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 8896733 · View Source
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British Victoria Cross recipient. William Leefe Robinson, who seldom used his first name, was born in Tollideta, South Coorg, India. During the First World War, he served as a Lieutenant (later Captain) in The Worcester Regiment, attached to 39 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The inscription around his grave reads: (left) "One who never turned his back but marched breast forward, Never doubted clouds would break, Never dream'd though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, one baffled to fight better sleep to wake. - Browning' (from "Epilogue to Asolando.") (centre) '"God quickened the dead and calleth those which be not as though they were." - Romans, IV:17.' (right) "He was the first airman to attack a Zeppelin at night. After a most daring single-handed fight, he brought down L21, a flaming wreck at Cuffley, on the 3rd. September 1916. He led the way against the German Zeppelin peril threatening England." On the night in question, Lieutenant Robinson was flying over Cuffley in Hertfordshire, just North of London, when he saw a German airship; one of a fleet of sixteen on a mass raid over England. He started an attack at a height of 11,500 feet, approaching from below. When he had reached to within 500 feet of the airship (which was not a Zeppelin, as stated on his grave, but a Schutte Lanz), he raked it with gunfire. As he was about to make another attack, the airship burst into flames and crashed into a field. The German aircrew were, at first, buried in nearby Potters Bar; but, in the 1960's, they were re-interred in the German War Cemetery in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. Usually, before a Victoria Cross can be awarded, it is necessary to find witnesses to the event; in this instance, it was considered that the wreckage of the airship spoke for itself. Later in the war, Lieutenant Robinson was shot down over enemy lines and was taken prisoner. He made several attempts to escape, but remained in captivity until the Armistice. Sadly, he died on the last day of 1918 in Stanmore, Middlesex, a victim of the influenza epidemic. Lieutenant Robinson was not married, but was engaged to Joan Whippple, the widow of a Captain who had been killed in action in December 1914. His grave is in the South-West corner of the cemetery extension, on the South side of Uxbridge Road. There is aHarvester restaurant, just East of the graveyard, named "Leefe Robinson, V.C.", and a monument at Cuffley. To read the inscription on the latter, click the photograph of the obelisk.

Bio by: Iain MacFarlaine


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Iain MacFarlaine
  • Added: 10 Jun 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8896733
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Leefe Robinson (14 Jul 1895–31 Dec 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8896733, citing All Saints Churchyard, Harrow Weald, London Borough of Harrow, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .