Charles was the son of Alfred and Mary Robson. He was born in Gateshead and lived at 2 Grasmere Street, Gateshead in 1891. He was educated at Wilson's Academy, London, before attending the College of Medicine from 1907. In the winter session of that year he won equal third prize for Dissections- Junior. He qualified as a doctor in March 1913 (M.B. B.S.) and was briefly employed at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne prior to the outbreak of war. Charles married Winifred Irene of 47 Roxburgh Terrace, Whitley Bay in 1915.
Charles took out a temporary commission in October 1914 with the Royal Army Medical Corps, and subsequently served at the Herbert Military Hospital in Woolwich for 10 months. From June 1915, he served on the Hospital Ship 'Valdivia' tending wounded soldiers in Egypt and the Dardanelles. In April 1916, Charles went to France, where he was attached to various Field Ambulances and regiments, including a short secondment to the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.
Charles was killed in action on the 1st December 1917 aged 30 years old. He was serving in France with the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment when a shell landed near to him. His younger brother was killed in action three months earlier (Medical Gazette Volume XVIII, p. 31).
The Commanding Officer of his Field Ambulance wrote ‘No sympathy of mine an in any way soften the blow which has fallen on you. Believe me, we all- officers and men in the Field Ambukance- know that we have lost one of those dear to us all. Dear “Robbie,” as we called him, was always so ready and cheerful and straightforward that to know him was to be fond of him, and to respect him. I feel a keen sense of personal loss- “Robbie” was one of the best officers I have ever had, and I had come to place great reliance upon him….’ (Medical Gazette Volume XVIII, p. 31).
A Chaplain wrote ‘It is with the utmost sorrow that I write to acquaint you that Harry has fallen for his country’s sake. He had been sent to take the place temporarily of another medical officer with the ¼ Gloucester Battalion, and as they went up into action the fatal shell burst beside him, a piece entering his back and killing him instantly on Saturday, December 1st. … But Harry was such a splendid man for his work that whilst with a division it was inevitable that he be snt to the most difficult posts. I know that Col, [blank], of his old battalion, asked to have him recently when a particularly dangerous bit of fighting was on. And Col. [blank], of the 2/2 Field Ambulance spoke to me of him yesterday as the man he could least afford to lose. All who knew him were charmed by him. He was unpretentious but thorough in his work; he was a man and a Christian….’ (Medical Gazette Volume XVIII, p. 31).
Another Chaplain wrote ‘All the men loved him for the painstaking interest he took in their comfort and welfare. He was always unselfish, always caring for others rather than himself. Of all the men I have known in France, none has seemed to me to approach more closely “The Beloved Captain,” so finely described by Donald Hankey.”’ (Medical Gazette Volume XVIII, p. 31).