A Few Surprises – The End of the Journey

My leave party was sent down to Naples by train where we embarked on a troopship which joined a convoy and was escorted by a number of warships to Southampton, and from there by train via London to Stranraer – boat to Larne and train to Enniskillen via Belfast and then bus from Enniskillen to Tully – home.

I had been at home about a week when I received a letter from my Company Commander in Italy to inform me that I had been awarded the D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct Medal). I was in bed when the letter arrived which was brought in to me by mother, she left the bedroom but came back a few minutes later to say that the postman, Herbert McKeague who was a family relation and a First World War veteran would like to know a little more of my news having seen the letter addressed to CSM R Robinson, D.C.M. I told mother to tell him that I had been awarded the D.C.M. He shouted in his congratulations and went on his way.  By mid-day everyone in the neighbourhood knew that Bobbie Robinson had been awarded a battlefield decoration. I was a celebrity for the remainder of my leave and given a welcome home party which was held in the local hall in Churchill.

The worst part of that holiday was visiting the families of two local lads who had been killed in 1944. Percy Sanderson, a close friend of mine had been killed in Burma and a Bobbie Woods, a Sergeant In the Irish Guards (Tanks) killed in Normandy.

I was able to spend Christmas and the New Year with my family and in very early January 1945 when my leave was up I returned to the Battalion in Italy by the same route and means of travel.  A month’s leave and a month travelling and another 5 months on the battlefield before the war ended in Italy in May 1945.

I was involved in several more battles including the River Senio, Argenta Gap and a number of minor ones before reaching the River Po where we were told that the war in Italy was over.

Our particular war in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy had lasted 2 years and 7 months. It took a few days to get the idea of peace at last. No noise of battle, no guns firing, no aircraft. Just normal human activities – unbelievable.