Robinson Wallace was born 28 March 1896 in Heworth, County Durham. He was the third child and first son of Robinson Jackson Wallace, a police constable, and his wife Margaret Jane. Both elder sisters became elementary school teachers, working for Felling Urban Council in 1911.
A pupil at Windy Nook and then Jarrow Secondary School, Robinson Wallace himself began his teacher training at Bede College in 1914 and in The Bede magazine of March 1915 he is listed as a player for both Association and Rugby Football teams against local military sides. Before the completion of his studies The Bede further records in June 1915 his intention to enlist at the end of that current term. In December 1915 his name is first added to the Roll of Honour as a serving Private 320 with the Cyclist Company, Northumbrian Division.
Robinson was gazetted on 27 January 1916 transferring with promotion to the 3/8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry as a second lieutenant (on probation). Three references within The Bede of June 1916 report Robinson with the 8 D.L.I. in France, with 50th Division in France and “with the 8th at the front”.
The December 1916 edition of The Bede erroneously lists Robinson as having been killed in action on 29 September. In fact while he was seriously wounded in an attack on that date, he died three days later on 2 October. The Bede magazine’s D.L.I. diary states that Robinson’s unit was then in the area around Mametz. On 28 September they moved up to the front line “via Crescent Trench which was spongy underfoot and smelled terribly, being the grave of a number of German dead.” The same diary and the College’s 1916 Annual Report provide a more detailed description of the action in which Wallace fell, and these may be found quoted above in the biography of Nat Bewick.
Robinson Wallace is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension in France. He is remembered on war memorials at St Mary Heworth, and Monkton, South Tyneside, and on Bede College’s 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour.