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What happened to my Grandfather?Joseph Robinson (Bradford, W

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What happened to my Grandfather?Joseph Robinson (Bradford, W

Postby DG Robinson » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:02 am

Joseph Robinson (Bradford, West Yorkshire, England 1892)
By: David Robinson August 2017

My father William G Robinson liked to be called Bill; his mother Alice Robinson nee Black had two sons with Joseph. They married in November 1925 at the Congregational Church 97 Bridge Road Richmond, Australia. They lived as a family in Disraeli Street Kew, an Eastern suburb of Melbourne Australia. In 1927 Joseph was enrolled to vote in the Kew, Kooyong District, this is our family’s last known official reference to him. Joseph left Alice and his sons Don and Bill in 1928 and has never been heard of since. Joseph was never spoken about in the family but we knew Joseph was a ship’s steward; he actually met my Grandmother Alice on a Christmas Cruise in 1925 from Melbourne to Sydney, on the Largs Bay a Scottish made ship built for the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers.

So we had a starting point. My parents researched Australian Shipping records and discovered Joseph’s sailing log. This listed his birth place as Bradford, England and his next of kin was listed as Laura Huggins, Birkshall Lane Bradford, who we later discovered as being his sister. He was living in Montague Street South Melbourne and he had worked on the Osterley 1921, Esperance Bay 1922-1924, Levuka 1925.
Joseph Robinson was born on August 18, 1892, in Bradford, Yorkshire, his father, Joseph (Bradford, Yorkshire. 1864), was 28 and his mother, Harriet Ellen Robinson nee Jennings (New York, USA. 1865), 27. He had two sisters who were also born in Bradford, Beatrice (1887) & Laura (1890). Joseph worked as a Carter around Bradford where in 1912 he married Dora Dowson in his home town at the St Peters Church in Bradford. At an early age Joseph found employment in the textile industry in Bradford where he worked with horses as a Cartage operator, he was a Gunner during the First World War, a ship’s Steward, amateur Boxer and a Gardener.

We felt that quite possibly Joseph was engaged in the fighting during the First World War. Many WW1 records were destroyed in the bombing of London during the Second World War, so we were fortunate in finding surviving papers on Joseph’s Army Service. The records show Joseph served his country during the First World War in the Royal Garrison Artillery as a Gunner 40500 joining on the 25th Feb. 1914* before the declaration of War on 28th July 1914. These records also show his family, next of kin as Laura Huggins, home address and personal details including a marriage during leave from France to Ellen Sarah Dacey in Middlesex London England.

Searching online we discovered that Ellen and Joseph had had a son Geoffrey Christian Robinson born 12 June 1918. We also found a family tree connection on to Geoffrey’s children who now live in Canada. With some digging we found that in 1919 Joseph had arrived in Sydney as a steward, aboard a ship the Adolph Woemann, an ex-German steamer that was commandeered after the war to return Australian and New Zealand Troops home. The ship left Plymouth on the 14th August 1919.

We believe during time in Australia, Joseph sent the only good picture we have of him to his wife Ellen in London with “something to remember me by” written in pencil on the back. This picture came from our cousins, brother’s Vernon & Len Robinson Canada.

In early 1921 Joseph returned to England aboard the Ship Osterley he listed his details in the ships log as: Birth place: Bradford current address: 60 Longfellow Road, Mile End, London. Previous ship: "Adolph Woermann", we believe he would have visited his wife Ellen Sarah Robinson and son Geoffrey Robinson on returning to London, England.

Joseph found employment again in July 1921 aboard the RMS Osterley, engaged as Assistant Steward he listed his details in the ships log as Birth place: Bradford Age: 30. Joseph never returned to Ellen and his son Geoffrey, Later during 1930 in Essex, Sarah married William Steven.

I have recently searched the 1939 pre Second World War English population records on although there are a number of Joseph Robinson’s recorded; none actually match any of his known details.

There are family stories and this is one reason I am writing, maybe someone has known a Joseph Robinson with a connection to Bradford, West Yorkshire. It was reported that he was living in Queensland and we know he spent time in Sydney. It was also alleged that he wrote to Alice from Singapore asking for them to move there. This was just prior to the Second World War, it is well known that the Japanese Army captured and killed many people there.

Alice never spoke of Joseph again and as you can imagine his departure made it very difficult for a woman with two sons to provide for in the height of a world depression.

In conclusion I would love to hear from anyone who may have some knowledge of our Joseph Robinson.

*British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920
UK, Silver War Badge Records, 1914-1920
*Source Citation for British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
*Ref: England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1916-2005 Volume 1C Page 514
*Married Ellen Sarah Dacey Apr-Jun 1917 Registered: Mile End Old Town, Middlesex. Spouse: Joseph Robinson Ref: Source Citation for England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
Ref: Evening Post New Zealand 3RD October 1919. Daily Commercial News & Shipping Lists Sydney Oct 1919
*West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns,
1813-193 West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms,
1813-1910 UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
Source Citation for Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980
Source Citation for 1911 England Census
Source Citation for 1901 England Census
Source Citation for 1891 England Census The National Archives
DG Robinson
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:43 am
Location: Bendigo, Australia.

Re: What happened to my Grandfather?Joseph Robinson (Bradfor

Postby sdup26 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:18 pm

The names could be just coincidence, but this entry from a Ship's Passenger list may be of interest:

Mauretania, sailing from Southampton to New York, 24/9/1947
Joseph Robinson, aged 56 (b1891), carpet manufacturer, born Bradford
Alice Robinson, aged 54, born Liversidge (probably Liversedge, 5 miles from Bradford)
Posts: 1525
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:34 pm

Re: What happened to my Grandfather?Joseph Robinson (Bradfor

Postby DG Robinson » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:28 am

Many thanks for your input, anything's possible, so I'll follow up on Joseph & Alice Robinson. Thanks for your information.
DG Robinson
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:43 am
Location: Bendigo, Australia.

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