Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 30, 1876
Place of BirthMelbourne, Derbyshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Maria Robson (mother), 8 Westleigh Road, Leicester, England
Trade / CallingFarmer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental NumberN/A
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Canadian Divisional Artillery
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentCamp Sewell, Manitoba
Date of EnlistmentJuly 22, 1915
Age at Enlistment39
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Decorations and MedalsDistinguished Service Order
Death Details
Date of DeathMay 30, 1948
Age at Death72

Robson, Samuel

Major Samuel Robson joined the British army and served in South Africa before immigrating to Canada in 1911. When the First World War started he enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery and served for four years, attaining the rank of major and earning the Distinguished Service Order.

Samuel was born on 30 April 1876 in Melbourne, Derbyshire, England. His parents, Samuel Robson Sr. and Maria Travers, were both born in Lincolnshire. They were married in 1870 and they had five children, all born in Melbourne: Edith Margery, Elisabeth, Samuel, Nancy and Peter Travers. At the time of the 1881 census Samuel Sr. was a farmer of 319 acres employing nine men and two boys. By 1891 Samuel and his family had returned to Lincolnshire and they were living in the town of Stamford.

Samuel enlisted in the British army in Grantham, Lincolnshire on 26 January 1900 (reg. no. 6622). He was 23 years old and his occupation was bank clerk. He served in the Second Boer War with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. He was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with the Johannesburg, Cape Colony and Orange Free State clasps. Samuel emigrated from England in February 1911, sailing from Southampton to New York on the SS Adriatic. He was listed as being ‘in transit’ with Vancouver, British Columbia as his final destination. The Panama Canal wasn’t completed yet but he travelled through Panama then sailed on the SS Newport to San Francisco, presumably going from there to Vancouver.

The war was about to enter its second year when Samuel enlisted on 22 July 1915. He signed up at Camp Sewell in Manitoba and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 17th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. He was 39 years old and a big man, 6’3″ and 215 lb. with a 41″ chest. He was single, his occupation was farmer and next of kin was his mother in Leicester, England. The 17th Battery was mobilized in Winnipeg and recruited mainly in Manitoba. The recruits embarked from Halifax on 10 August 1915 and spent five months training in England before being sent to France in January 1916.

Samuel had a one week leave in the UK in June 1916. When he returned to his unit he was appointed Acting Adjutant and on 25 July he became Adjutant. In December he returned to England to report to the Canadian Administrative Headquarters in London, He was attached to the 4th Canadian Divisional Artillery which was redesignated as the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery in March 1917. Samuel became Temporary Captain on 12 March and Staff Captain in the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery on 10 May. He returned to France in August.

In January 1918 Samuel had a two week leave of absence in England and on 22 February he was appointed Temporary Major. Three weeks later he was transferred to the 4th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. On 19 June he was attached as Brigade Major to the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery and his promotion to Brigade Major came on 10 November, the day before the Armistice. He served in France and Belgium for another six months, returning to England in May 1919, and on 3 June he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He was also Mentioned in Despatches. He embarked for Canada on the SS Scotian on 11 June 1919, arriving in Quebec about eleven days later. He was discharged on demobilization on 28 June.

After the war Samuel took out a homestead near the town of Monitor, Alberta. He formed a partnership with a neighbouring farmer and they had one of the first milking machines in the district. He took an extended trip to England in 1921, returning to Monitor about two years later. By 1930, when he went on another trip to England, he was living in Winnipeg, Manitoba and working for the city engineering department. He later spent some time in northwestern Ontario and joined the Kenora branch of the Canadian Legion in March 1938. He was also a member of the Fort Frances Legion branch.

By the mid-1940s Samuel was back in Vancouver and working as a general construction superintendent. He returned to England in the summer of 1946, sailing from Port Alberni, British Columbia in late July on the SS Samzona. He travelled via the Panama Canal and arrived in Liverpool on 8 September. He said he was going to his sisters, Elisabeth and Nancy in Somerset, and he intended to live in England. He passed away in Minehead, Somerset on 30 May 1948, at age 72. His death was registered by his brother Peter. His sister Edith had died in Leicester in 1929. Peter passed away in Lancashire in 1949 and Nancy in Somerset in 1965.

Samuel is commemorated on the WW1 honour roll in A Treasure of Memories: a Story of the Monitor and Pemukan Districts in Alberta, Canada, co-edited by Elaine Rutledge and Marion Liknes (Monitor, Alberta, 1975).

By Becky Johnson

Photo at the top is the Queen’s South Africa Medal.

« Back To Soldier Biographies