Kandos and Rylstone History P.6
Sidney George Robbins
Presentation to Kandos High School Year 9 students by Jack Pennell and Lola Phillips in 2000
Jack Pennell and Lola Phillips’ grandfather’s name was Sidney George Robbins, born in Rylstone, at Rawdon Station in 1893.
Later in life he built a home at 28 Buchannan Street.
Sidney married Madge Frost, from Mudgee, and the couple had seven children: James, Gloria, Jack (who died as a baby), Lola, Keith, Gwen and Madge.
Sidney volunteered his service to World War I twice, once in Sydney, but was taken of the boat at Western Australia on the way to Gallipoli because he was sick and medically unfit and discharged. He returned to Sydney and enlisted again at Liverpool in 1915 to become a Light Horseman. Sidney was a signal linesman in the 5th Division. He used to repair the lines and keep the communications open.
Sidney George Robbins received the Military Medal, the award stating:
Sidney George Robbins was awarded the Military Medal No. 6100 by King George V on the steps of Buckingham Palace for bravery. He was the first Rylstone person to receive a medal, which is now proudly won on ANZAC Day by his grandson, who served in the Vietnam war. This grandson is also named Sidney Robbins . He was born on his grandfather’s birthday.
It was at Petillon on 19/20 July 1916 Gunner Robbins served as Telephone Specialist in the front line trenches. During our bombardment and infantry attack on the enemy’s position, he worked unnecessarily from 11am till 11pm on the 19th, keeping up communications between trenches and battery under heavy shell and rifle fire. In the early stage of the engagement, Gunner Robbins was buried by the explosion of a shell. On being released his first consideration was of communication, which he speedily restored. He was frequently required to repair broken wire under heavy fire.
Robbins was one of the first men to enlist from Kandos at the outbreak of WWI. He joined the first AIF, 49th Battalion, Australian Field Regiment, in Liverpool NSW. He went to Signaling School of Instruction in Melbourne on 27 July 1915, and was fined one pound and confined to camp for 10 days for breaking camp.
On 10th August 1915, Robbins was fined again – five shillings for being absent without leave from 2pm to 4pm from the Signaling School.
He embarked on 30th September 1915 from his Australian Unit, 13th Field Amb. Bn and was transferred to the 5th Division Artillery 52 BTY on 1st April 1916.
Robbins was transferred to 25th Field Ambulance Bn cx 13th FAB on 9th July 1916. On 30th November 1916 he was with the Signaling School of Instruction. After a short term in England he saw service in France at Mons, Boulicourt and Agincourt.
Whilst waiting for the Turks to attack, the soldiers played various games to keep fit. Robbins was a good runner and often took part in competitions. His granddaughter Lola Phillips said the emu feather seen in the soldiers’ hats was from fitness training at home at Holsworthy, where they ran around the paddocks chasing emus. Lola said that’s how they started the slouch hat, the army providing a clip to keep the feather in. Lola said at the start, it was a bit of a renegade act to stick the feather in their cap, against army regulations, but a true Aussie thing to do. In the end all Australians had the feather as part of their garb. Robbins ran for the Australian Army in France and England as well. In a card written home to Lola’s mother, Sidney said he had been in England, running, and had a sore hand from shaking hands with the ‘big knobs’.
On January 24, 1917, in France, he was transferred to 13th FAB ex 25th FAB. And on 14th February 1918 he was with the Wireless School to 28th February 1918.
On 30th March 1918 Gunner Robbins was admitted to 1st ADH whilst on leave. He was absent without leave on 14th June 1918 and forfeited eight days pay and again on 8th July 1918 when he forfeited one day’s pay. On 27th August 1918 he had 14 days with 9th Training Battalion in England. And on 10th September 1918 he was with the 9th Training Bn.
On October 1918 he was admitted to ADH Bulford for 13 days. And on 25th November 1918 he returned to Australia from England on the Berrima, suffering influenza. He was discharged at Sydney on 1st June 1919 as unfit for service due to shrapnel wound in the right knee.
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