Fred Robinson was born in Whittington in 1893. His parents were Frederick and Sarah Robinson they married in 1877. When Fred was born there were already 7 elder siblings and at the time of the 1911 census it was recorded that Frederick and Sarah had 15 children, 3 of whom had died by 1911.
I cannot find any trace of which school Fred or any of his siblings attended. The Brushes School was opened 1899 prior to that they quite probably attended Websters Endowed School on Church Street.
In 1901 the family were living at 4 Victoria Road, this according to the census was near to Fowler Street.
As you can see from the census the enumerator put down Frederick and Sarah as Orwin instead of Robinson!
By 1911 the family had moved and were living at 104 Holland Road. Fred has by this time left school and is now listed as a Blacking Mills Labourer.
On 5th August 1914 Fred marries Bertha Nicholson at Old Whittington Church. His profession is now listed as Sawyer and a sawyer is exactly what is sounds like a person who saws wood/timber for a living, it could be live wood for example a tree or wood in a saw mill.
One of the witnesses to the wedding of Fred and Bertha is Freds younger brother John William. Its interesting to note that the occupation of Freds father is given as Miner. On the census for 1901 when he was 44 and 1911 Frederick is classed as a invalid (unable to work) perhaps he suffered an injury in the mine or picked up a mining related illness. It is sad that he was an invalid from quite a young age, especially with a large family to support.
Fred enlisted 31st May 1915 in the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Chatsworth Rifles). His Registration number was 26774 and a copy of his original enlistment form is below. As you can see at the top he is registered as 9th Battalion but above his number is 16th Battalion. I think it is possible he originally joined the 16th Chatsworth Rifles but as the war progressed he was transferred to the 9th Battalion.
I have been advised that it was common for men to be ‘moved about’ in WW1, even between Regiments let alone battalions; depending on unit requirements.
16th (Service) Battalion (Chatsworth Rifles)
Formed at Derby on 16 April 1915, by the Duke of Devonshire and the Derbyshire TF Association.
Moved to Buxton on 4 May 1915 and then on to Redmires near Sheffield on 8 June.
2 September 1915 : moved to Hursley near Winchester and came under orders of 117th Brigade in 39th Division.
Moved to Aldershot on 30 September 1915 but soon moved to Witley.
6 March 1916 : landed at Le Havre.
Further information on the 39th Division can be found here
Cap Badge of the Sherwood Foresters
According to his physical description on his attestation forms Fred was 5ft 6″, weight 120lbs with a fair complexion. At the time of enlisting he was living at 98 Holland Road Old Whittington and his occupation was given once again as a Sawyer.
It is very likely that Fred saw action at several of the battles which took place on the Somme.
Sadly Fred was killed in 1916. There is a slight discrepancy in recorded information of the date Fred died. One report states he died on 22 January 1916, however, according to army records he was hospitalised between 9th February and 24th February 1916 with gastritis. Fred actually died on 22 November 1916.
Excerpt from Sheffield Daily Telegraph 6th January 1917