Robert Ramsey Robson was born the second of ten children on 21 December 1893, to Rebecca Robson and Robert Robson, a joiner, in Acomb, Northumberland. By the time of the 1911 census, Robert, aged 17, was a student, while his elder brother John was working as a quarry labourer and a younger brother George, aged 13, was working as a grocer’s errand boy. Robert was educated locally at Hexham Grammar School and then studied to be a teacher at Bede College in Durham, entering the college in 1912. In common with all Bede students, on 15 November 1912 Robson joined the Territorial Force 8th Durham Light Infantry “B” Company. In March 1913, his name was included on the Divinity Class List and he was awarded a Class 2 in the Archbishops’ Certificate as a first year student. His name is included in the list of second year students 1913-1914. While at Bede, Robson was a member of the rugby team (1913-1914), and the hockey team (1913-1914).
With his new qualification Robson became a Certificated Assistant teacher at Barnard Castle Council School, but this was short lived as he joined his regiment on 5 August 1914 as a Private. He was then stationed at Sunderland Road Schools, Gateshead. The Territorial battalions, including the 8th landed in France on the 19 and 20 April 1915 as part of the 50th Northumbrian Division. On 25 April, the 8th Durham Light Infantry were involved in their first bloody engagement in the Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge, part of the Second Battle of Ypres in which the Division prevented the capture of the city. At some point during this battle Robson was wounded in the thigh, recorded in his military records as having occurred on 28 April. By 2 May Robson had returned to England to convalesce. (A fuller account of this battle is found above in the biographies of Robson’s comrades who were killed that day.)
On 11 June 1915 Robson was attached to the 3/8th Battalion and promoted to Corporal. He re-engaged for 4 years or the period of the war on 3 June 1916 and by 1 September of that year had transferred to the 5th Durham Light Infantry as a Lance Corporal. He appears to have spent further time in England carrying out administrative duties. On 6 March, serving as a Lance Corporal he embarked at Folkestone and landed in Boulogne. By 26 March he was posted to the 19th Durham Light Infantry.
In 1917 the 19th Battalion were in action during the pursuit to the Hindenburg Line, at Houthulst Forest and the Second Battle of Passchendaele. On 8 February they transferred to 104th Brigade, still with the 35th Division. In 1918 they fought in the First Battle of Baupaume, and would go on to fight in the Hundred Days Offensive.
Lance Corporal Robert Robson was killed in action on 22 April 1918 in France. He is buried in Martinsart British Cemetery, France. His name is commemorated in Hexham Abbey’s Roll of Honour, and Bede College’s 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour, as well as the Durham County Council War Memorial at County Hall. He is also remembered on plaques at Acomb Methodist Church, and Hexham Grammar School in Northumberland.