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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916


CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916


Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916


Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916


Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

L/Cpl 17906 Harold Dixon McRobie


  • Age: 33
  • From: Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

Harold Dixon McRobie was born on 22nd February 1883, the youngest of 7 children born to James Allan McRobie, a plumber born in Scotland, and his second wife Mary Emily (nee Howarth). James ‘s first wife, Maria nee Plant, had at least three children before she died in the late 1860s. James was a master plumber and in 1881 is shown as employing 3 men and 2 boys and living at 16 Browside. He married Mary Emily on 02nd January 1870 in St George’s Church, Everton.  His children displayed an academic bent, with one daughter becoming a schoolmistress and the rest of his large family working in a clerical capacity.

Harold was baptised on 16th May 1883 at St Ambrose Church, Everton.

The family continued to live at 16 Browside and in 1901 are shown there with their seven children, one son (William) is a clerk with the railway, 3 (James, Lambert and Ernest) are clerks in a shipping office, one (Albert) with a cotton broker and one, Harold Dickson (or Dixon) aged 18 is an apprentice bank clerk. In both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses, Harold is shown as Harold Dickson McRobie but his military records show him as Harold Dixon McRobie. In fact he was baptised on the same day as his older brother Albert Edward on 16th May 1883 in St Ambrose Church, Everton, with his middle name spelt as Dixon. 

James Allan McRobie died in 1909 at the age of 74. 

The 1911 Census shows Harold's mother as a 67 year old widow Emily living with her five children; Emily Jane 40, Lambert Crichton 33 a clerk for Plumbers and Metal Merchants, Ernest John 31 an export clerk for Iron and Tinplate Merchants, Albert Edward 30 a cashier in a cotton brokers, Harold (Dickson) 29 is a fully-fledged bank clerk.

His mother died in 1912. 

Harold enlisted in the 19th Battalion of The King’s Regiment on 11th September 1914 as Private 17906. He was described as being 5 ft 5" tall, weighing 118 lbs with a 36 inch chest, a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He stated his religion as Church of England. He named his sister Emily Jane, 109 Newsham Drive, as his next of kin. Harold gave his age as 31 years 7 months, his occupation as bank clerk and declared that he had served his apprenticeship with Messrs J. W. Yates & Co, 45 Castle Street, Liverpool, completing it in 1901.

Formed on 07th September 1914 the 19th Battalion trained locally at Sefton Park and remained living at home or in rented accommodation until November 1914. They then moved to the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. 

On 07th November 1915 he went to France.

On 06th December 1915 was appointed A/Lance Corporal (Unpaid).

He was killed in action at Trones Wood on 11th July 1916, aged 33. 

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916.The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

"The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary.  The place was a Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible".

His death was reported in the Liverpool Echo on 27th July 1916:

McROBIE - July 11, killed in action, Harold Dickson (Lance Corporal "Pals"), youngest son of the late James A. and Mary E., 109 Newsham Drive.
 
He was reported killed in the Liverpool Daily Post on 21st August 1916:

- McRobie, 17906, A/L-Cpl H. D. (Liverpool)

Harold's body was not recovered or was subsequently lost as he is commemorated with so many of his Pals on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

Probate 15th November 1916 to Emily Jane. Effects £616 15s 11d.
 
Soldiers Effects to sister Emily Jane, no Pension record found. 

When his sister, Emily Jane,  completed her sworn declaration for the Army naming Harold’s surviving relatives she named his brothers : James Allan, 45 years, of Wavertree Nook Road; Samuel, 42 years, of 17 Victoria Road; Ernest John, 40 years, and Albert Edward, 38 years; and herself, aged 48 years, living with Samuel and Ernest at Newsham Drive.

Harold was awarded his 3 medals, which were sent to Emily Jane.  

 

 

 

 

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old