CYRIL CHARLES ROBINSON

Lieutenant, 59th Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in Action, Doullens, France, 28 April 1918, aged 22
Buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No. 2, Somme, France
Grave Reference: 1.A.32
 

Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No. 2

Cyril Robinson was born in Forest Row at Ashdown Park in 1896 and was the son of William Charles and Charlotte Emily Robinson. The family address, Upper Lodge, Ashdown Park, is still given in the 1901 census but by 1911 Cyril is living in Brondesbury, London NW6, a clerk in the Magnet works.

At the beginning of the war aeroplanes were used for photographic reconnaissance work, a camera often mounted at the rear. Defensive manoeuvres by the opposing sides led to dogfights and bombing of ground positions. With solo reconnaissance the pilot had to fly, navigate, observe and transmit observations to ground base by wireless morse. When there was a pilot and observer the latter was at first senior, the pilot just the "driver" but gradually the roles were reversed as pilots often needed to take immediate evasive action. Parachutes, just being developed, were not used: senior staff felt that there would be a temptation to abandon the machine and many pilots felt their drag reduced the plane's effectiveness. Some parachutes were available to observers in tethered balloons.

The Royal Flying Corps merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to become the Royal Air Force. Pre-RAF ranks continued to be used for serving men, the new RAF ranks gradually replacing them. Cyril Robinson did not survive long enough to take on a new rank.

His entry in the Forest Row memorial book was signed by his father, by then living in Hounslow, Middlesex.

Vivien Hill