Date of birth: 5.1.1915
Date of death: 26.2.1943
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Family information: Husband of Margaret nee Beaumont
Rank: Squadron Leader
Service number: 45617
Samuel Robinson was with 83 Squadron RAF(VR) when he was killed on 26th February 1943 age 28. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 119.
He is also commemorated on New Bomber Command Memorial, Canwick, Hill Lincoln - Phase 2 panel 234.
Lancaster W4848 - markings OL-S. 83 Squadron (formerly served with 38 Squadron) left RAF Wyton on 26th February 1943 on a night raid to Cologne in which 427 aircraft took part. The plane crashed near Munchengladbach with the loss of 7 crew. Most of the bombing fell in the South West of the city, with many industrial, utility and residential buildings badly damaged or destroyed, along with some churches. 10 aircraft were lost on this sortie.
Family history recalls that the plane came down near “Overhetfeld.” Two aircrew, Air-gunner Wallace Anthony Ringe and Squadron Leader Ernest Robert Simpson, were dead in the plane and are buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery, the other five were believed shot to pieces whilst bailing out.
Samuel Robinson joined the RAF aged 16 after leaving the Kings School at Pontefract. His flying career started on 7th March 1938. After undergoing a strict selection process he would embark on a rigorous training programme at various training schools. He first attended a two month course at Elementary Training School in RAF Yatesbury, Wilts learning to fly in a Tiger Moth. On 15th June 1938 he went to No 4 Flying Training School at RAF Abu Sueir in Egypt for a further six months training. On 1st February 1939 he returned to Yatesbury for another nine months, three of which were spent at RAF Shoreham on a Navigational course. From 16th October 1939 at RAF Marham he joined his first operational tour with No.38 Squadron. Whilst serving with this squadron he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. The citation in the London Gazette 22 October 1940 p6137 says: “The DFM was awarded to the recipient Samuel Robinson to recognise valour, courage and devotion to duty, performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.” George Henry Miller’s DFM award is announced on same page.
He then served six months with No 20 Operational Training Unit (motto:Train to Triumph) based at Lossiemouth where night bomber crews were trained in Wellington aircraft, so he would be instructing and training other aircrew members. His posting here was from 13th September 1940, and the airfield was attacked on 26th October by three Heinkel’s of the German Luftwaffe, so he saw action on the ground as well as in the air. Whilst based here he had the misfortune to sustain a broken jaw and was taken to hospital in Lossiemouth. Training activity here was limited due to the poor condition of the airfield, and small detachments of bombers being based there. His time here finished on 31st March 1941 when he was posted to No. 23 Operational Training Unit at RAF Pershore.
On 1st April 1941 he joined No.23 Operational Training Unit at RAF Pershore, also home of No83 Squadron, where once again between operational duties he would be acting as an instructor, and was promoted from being 565131 Sgt Samuel Robinson to 45617 Pilot Officer Samuel Robinson. In 1942 whilst serving at RAF Pershore he lived in married quarters at Evesham with his wife and daughter. He must have shown outstanding ability and leadership qualities, which did not go unnoticed. He was held in such high regard that within the space of 15 months he had been promoted three more times to the rank of Squadron Leader. When 83 Squadron moved to RAF Wyton he volunteered as a Pathfinder on 3 January 1943 and was aware of the increased risk, so he moved his wife and daughter to live with her elder sister at Houghton Avenue, Ferrybridge. The Pathfinder Force was formed on 15 August 1942 Wyton, and to be a Pathfinder aircrew needed elite navigational skills but they had to agree to two conditions (1) they had to volunteer (2) A tour of duty would involve 45 operational sorties, not 30 like the rest of Bomber Command. Their motto was “Strike to Defend. “Such members were given a promotion of one rank, so he was to be promoted to the rank of Wing Commander, but tragically he was killed before the paperwork had been completed. Still, it sounds good to me “Wing Commander Samuel Robinson of Knottingley!!” Flying at some 20,000ft they led the main force against the enemy, and after identifying the target, dropped flares known as TI’s (Target Indicators), providing an easily seen visual aiming point for the following bombers to aim at with increasing accuracy.
He also saw service with 102 Squadron, but I have not been able to identify his time here. 102 Squadron was based at RAF Pocklington, another bomber command station, and servicemen from America were trained here. Whilst serving here he made a friend of one particular American airman who became godfather to his daughter Ann.
Whilst serving at Pershore, he was also mentioned in despatches, which entitled him to wear an Oak Leaf on the Defence Medal and he was mentioned in New Year’s Honours List 1 January 1943.
His medal entitlement includes: 1939-45 War Medal; 1939-45 Star; Defence Medal; Air Crew Europe Medal; Distinguished Flying Medal and Oak Leaf.
It was almost a year before official notification was received, that he was presumed dead as reported:
Pontefract & Castleford Express 3 March 1944 p6 (with photo)
“AIRMAN PRESUMED DEAD
Mrs Margaret Robinson of 30 Houghton Avenue, Ferrybridge, whose husband Squadron Leader Samuel Robinson DFM was reported missing a year ago, has received word that he is now presumed dead. He was the second son of Mr and Mrs Samuel Robinson, England‘s Lane, Knottingley, and joined the RAF immediately he left the King’s School, Pontefract at the age of 16. In April 1939 he married Miss Margaret Beaumont, the youngest daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Tom Beaumont of Vale Terrace, Ferrybridge. He was awarded the DFM in 1940 and received it at Buckingham Palace, where he was accompanied by his wife. He was commissioned in April 1941, and within twelve months reached the rank of Squadron Leader. During the war he made many trips over Germany and Italy, trained operational crews, and he also served as a Pathfinder pilot. He was also mentioned in despatches in the New Year’s Honours List in 1943. Besides the widow, there is one daughter.”
Samuel Robinson was born on 5th January 1916 and baptised on 14th February 1915 at Christ Church, Knottingley. He was the son of Samuel Robinson and Edith Elizabeth (nee Bagley) who married at the same church on 25th April 1908. His father was serving with the Army in World War One when he was born.
In April 1939, registered at Pontefract, Samuel Robinson married Margaret Beaumont. They had one daughter, Ann Margaret, who was born on 8th November 1941.