Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthSeptember 28, 1883
Place of BirthIsle of Wight
Marital StatusMarried
Next of Kinwife, Jane Robinson of Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingCarpenter
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number198260
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion5th Battalion, CRT
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Railway Troops
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentNovember 19, 1915
Age at Enlistment32
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 12, 1953
Age at Death69
Buried AtLake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario

Robinson, Arthur William

Arthur William Robinson was born on 28 September 1883 on the Isle of Wight, England. His father Timothy Robinson was also from the Isle of Wight, while his mother Elizabeth Wilkins was from Walworth in Surrey. The couple married during the first quarter of 1872 in the Isle of Wight. Arthur’s father was a mariner, one who navigates or assists in navigating a ship. Children born to the family were Charles Albert (1873), Minnie Kate (1876), George Timothy (abt 1879), Amy Elizabeth (1881), Arthur, Joseph Ernest (1886), Grace Emily (1888), Mary Jane (1890), and Eva Dorothy (1892).

According to the 1921 Canada census Arthur immigrated to Canada in 1907. He settled in Kenora, Ontario where he found work as a carpenter/boat builder. On 21 October 1908, in Kenora, Arthur married Jane Jarden. The daughter of James and Mary (née Hill) Jarden, Jane was born in 1882 in Preston, Lancashire, England. With occupation given as weaver she had arrived in Quebec aboard the Empress of Britain in June of 1906, destination given as Kenora. Arthur and Jane gave birth to their first child, daughter Frances Dorthea (Dolly) in late August of 1909, followed by son James Arthur in February of 1911.

With occupation given as carpenter and his wife Jane as next of kin, Arthur signed his attestation papers with the 94th Battalion on 19 November 1915 in Kenora. With recruitment in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Francis and Dryden, the 94th Battalion had its headquarters in Port Arthur. In late May of 1916 Arthur, along with a number of other local lads, left Kenora for Port Arthur on the first leg of the journey overseas. A large crowd gathered at the train station to wish the fellows well. With the 94th Battalion Private Arthur Robinson embarked from Halifax aboard the Olympic on 29 June 1916.

Once in England Arthur was posted to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then on to the 43rd Battalion, taken on strength in France on the 24th of August. In September he spent a week with the 3rd Entrenching Battalion before arriving at the unit on the 20th. Mobilized in Winnipeg, the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) had arrived in France in February of 1916.

During the Battle of the Somme in 1916 Arthur sustained gunshot wounds to the arm and thigh on the 5th of October. First admitted to the No 9 General Hospital in Rouen on the 7th he was then invalided to the University War Hospital at Southampton on the 10th. In November he was transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Hospital Woodcote Park, Epsom, with discharge on the 6th of December.

First attached to the Canadian Convalescent Depot, Arthur was transferred to the Canadian Railway Troops at Purfleet in early February of 1917. Later that month he joined the 5th Battalion CRT in France. Canadian railway units played a major role in the construction and maintenance of railways of all gauges, including light railways, for the British Army areas in France and Belgium.

On 15 January 1918 Arthur was awarded a Good Conduct Badge. In mid February he was granted a leave to the UK, rejoining the unit on the 9th of March. In June he spent 10 days in field ambulances, suffering from PUO, fever of unknown origin. With the end of the war, in January of 1919 Arthur was struck off strength to the Canadian Railway Troops Pool. In early February he was admitted to the No 7 General Hospital in Wimereux in France suffering from interigo. Later that month he returned to England and embarked for Halifax from Liverpool on 16th of April aboard the Belgic.

Once back in Kenora Arthur continued to work as a carpenter and was employed by Alex Stephen and the Stone Boat Company. Two more children joined the family, Amy and George. Arthur was a member of the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.

Predeceased by his wife Jane in 1939, Arthur died on 12 March 1953 in the Ontario Hospital, Penetanguishene, Ontario. His Veteran Death Card listed his daughter Frances D Robinson of Kenora, Ontario as his next of kin. Along with Jane he is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

Arthur  is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour in Kenora.

by Judy Stockham