John Robertson likeness

John Robertson cap badgeCorporal John Robertson

Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) 11th Squadron
Service No: 39977

John Robertson grave

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Personal details

Family Information

Son of Peter and Janet Laurie Robertson of 50 St John St, Coatbridge then 32a Colt Terrace, Coatbridge. John's younger brother Lance Corporal Thomas Robertson of the 9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion Highland Light Infantry Died of Wounds on the 09/11/1916. 2 other brothers also served one of which was hospitalised in Dublin suffering from wounds in late 1916. From the 1901 Census - Address - 9e Blairhill St, Coatbridge - Peter Robertson aged 44, Janet Robertson aged 40, William Robertson aged 15, Janet L Robertson aged 12, Peter Robertson aged 10, John Robertson aged 8, Thomas Robertson aged 7, Alexander Robertson aged 3, Helen Robertson Jr aged 1. John's Pension was awarded to his father Peter and mother Janet on the 18/06/1918. His brother Thomas' Pension was awarded to his father Peter and mother Janet on the 11/09/1917.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 50 St John St, Coatbridge

Died

Killed in Action on the 01/12/1917 at the German counterattack during the Battle of Cambrai

Enlisted

Coatbridge 07/09/1914

Employed

Rivet Maker in the Stobcross Bolt and Rivet Works

Age

25

Buried / Remembered

Cambrai Memorial (Panel 13), Louverval, Nord, France

Cemetery / Memorial Information

On an elevated terrace in Louverval Military Cemetery in Louverval, France, stands the Cambrai Memorial. It commemorates 7,116 servicemen from Britain and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai whose graves are not known. On 20 November 1917, the British Third Army launched an attack towards Cambrai. The method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, a large number of tanks were used in significant force. The memorial holds the names of seven recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Additional Information

The 11th Squadron were formed on the 29/02/1916 for the 5th (Mhow) Brigade, 1st Indian Cavalry Division. Machine gun sections were taken from the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, the 2nd Lancers and the 38th King George’s Own Central Indian Horse (the latter being of the Indian Army). They broke up on the 14/04/1918. John was formerly with the 5th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry from the 12/09/1914 to the 06/03/1916 when he disembarked in Rouen, France and joined the 6th Dragoon Guards (11981) in the field. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on the 29/12/1916. John was Killed in Action at the German counterattack, 30th November – 3rd December 1917 : On the 28th November, operations opened with a heavy gas bombardment of Bourlon. Two days later, the counterattack began in earnest. On the right flank, south of the Gouzeaucourt-Bonavis road, the break into British positions was swift. The defending 55th (2nd West Lancashire) Division and much of the 12th (Eastern) and 20th (Light) Divisions seemed to evaporate, and Snow called for reinforcements as early as 9am. Many artillery batteries soon came within range of advancing German infantry. Both they and units hurriedly ordered to shore up the clearly splintering defence were shocked at what they saw. Not least of them was the Guards Division, still recuperating from a mauling in Fontaine Notre Dame and now heading into what would become a bitter fight to hold the enemy at Gouzeaucourt : “First we had to struggle through the flood of terrified men … nothing seemed to stem the torrent of frightened men with eyes of hunted deer, without rifles or equipment, among them half-dressed officers presumably surprised in their sleep, and gunners who had had the sense and calmness to remove the breech blocks from their guns and were carrying them in their hands. Many were shouting alarming rumours, others yelling “Which is the nearest way to the coast?”. This was part of the Cambrai operations (Battle of Cambrai), 20th November – 30th December 1917 : A British attack, originally conceived as a very large-scale raid, that employed new artillery techniques and massed tanks. Initially very successful with large gains of ground being made, but German reserves brought the advance to a halt. Ten days later, a counterattack regained much of the ground. Ultimately a disappointing and costly outcome, but Cambrai is now seen by historians as the blueprint for the successful “Hundred Days” offensives of 1918. His Grave photo was donated by Mick McCann at the britishwargraves.co.uk. See Directory for John's younger brother Thomas' page. John is also remembered on the Coatbridge Technical College and Dunbeth Parish Churches Rolls of Honour (John's brother Thomas is on another section of the Dunbeth Church Roll of Honour) and at the Family Plot in Old Monkland Cemetery which lists John and his brother Thomas (see photos). See photos for John's Medal Index Card, his Newspaper clipping, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Cambrai Memorial, his name on the Cambrai Memorial Panel List, John's Service Record x 13, his and younger brother Thomas' Pension Records x 2, his previous Regiment the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers) Cap Badge and the Machine Gun Corps Cap Badge.

Photos
John Robertson Medal Index CardJohn Robertson newspaper clippingJohn Robertson newspaper clippingJohn Robertson newspaper clippingJohn Robertson remembered at homeJohn Robertson remembered at homeJohn Robertson remembered at homeJohn Robertson remembered at homeJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photoJohn Robertson additional photo

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