Lt. Col. Robinson

Lieutenant Colonel C.W. Robinson
187th (Veterans) Battalion

I have offered to take up the story where I left off two years ago, and go over in command of a Company as a Major. There seems to be lots of Colonels in England.

 (Col. Robinson letter, Red Deer News, 21 Mar 1917, 3)

Charles Wilson Robinson was a veteran of the Boer War and original officer with Lieutenant Colonel Boyle’s 10th Battalion at Second Ypres. Born in Loftus, England on 2 February 1877, Robinson was a central Alberta farmer and member of the 15th Light Horse.

During the heavy fighting at the battle of St. Julien in late April 1915, Robinson suffered a broken arm and shattered ribs. During the same action, his commanding officer, Russell Boyle was killed in action. Robinson returned to Canada in fall 1915 to join the 89th Battalion before receiving a command appointment to the 187th.

It was dubbed the “Veteran’s Battalion” because most of the 187th officers had previously served in South Africa or on the Western Front. Robinson expected that the collective battlefield experience of himself and his senior officers would “inspire confidence in prospective recruits.” The 187th sailed for England in December 1916, but was subsequently broken up.

Although the former 187th was unable to follow his men in the trenches, he reverted to the rank of major and joined the Forestry Corps. Announcing his return to Alberta after demobilization in 1919, the Red Deer News continued to address Robinson by his old rank, “because he will always be a colonel to many of us.”

During the 1920, Robinson assumed an active role in the United Farmers of Alberta. He unsuccessfully contested the provincial riding of Hand Hills for the UFA in 1935. He died in 1964.

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