Kandos and Rylstone History P.7
Sidney George Robbins
Presentation to Kandos High School Year 9 students by Jack Pennell and Lola Phillips in 2000
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.
On 25th November 1918 Sidney Robbins 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. His lung was also affected by being gassed in the trenches. Lola said the Turks used to throw gas bombs into the trenches, and one soldier was appointed to keep throwing them out again, but the Turks kept making the wicks shorter and shorter and eventually they often blew themselves up when the exploded before they could throw them. Sidney was gassed a number of times.
Sidney Robbins was in France when the war finished, and his grandson Jack tells of the parties that took place, with people dancing in the streets.
Robbins spent three years and 147 days abroad. The family still has his Bible he carried during the war, given to him by his mother, who always said Sidney was ‘God’s child’ because he was her 10th child.
Five of the Robbins brothers went to war, his eldest brother, Alf was killed from wounds received at Gallipoli 30/6/1915, aged 35.
Alfred Charles Robbins, Number 580, Rank Trooper (TPr), 1st Australian Light Horse, Memorial Panel: 2, Cemetery of Memorial Details: Egypt 6 Chatby War Memorial Cemetery. Son of William Henry and Rebecca Robbins, Buchanan St Kandos, Born at Rylstone. L.110. Source AWM 145 Roll of Honour Cards, 1914-1918 War, Army.
Alf died in a hospital in Greece and another brother, James, died of wounds received at Gallipoli as well, just six months after coming home and marrying his sweetheart. Brothers Ed, William and Bert also went to the war. Another brother, the baby of the family, also enlisted, but his mother protested to the army about losing her baby, so officials went down and took him off the boat, saying his mother had sent enough sons to the war. Grandma Robbins was the first woman west of the Blue Mountains to receive a letter from the Australian Government thanking her for letting her sons go to war.
When Sidney Robbins returned to Kandos, he worked as a contractor, working with a horse and cart or a dray and draught horse, carrying for the Kandos Railway Station and the Church of England. Robbins was the first person to have motorized trucks, which he rented out to the Rylstone Shire to build local roads. Sidney married Madge Frost, daughter of Alf Frost of Mudgee in April 1920. He had four daughters and two sons, and another son, John, who died in infancy.
Sidney George Robbins played cricket and football for Kandos, in spite of his shrapnelled knee. He was Western Districts golf champion for about four years in a row, on a one handicap. He was also good at bowls.
Previous | Content | Next