Search and Rescue: Happy ending for war medal

Arthur's headstone
Arthur's headstone

As some of you may know, Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team is funded entirely from generous donations from the community and local businesses.

This funding allows us to remain operational and continue to provide the essential life-saving support to the emergency services and the community as a whole. Recently a very interesting fundraising story developed which we felt was worth sharing.

Arthur Robins

Arthur Robins

On November 5, 2017, CVSRT member Wayne Ogden from Mytholmroyd was contacted by an ex firefighter colleague Eddie Rimmer who wanted to make a donation to the team.

There began a two-month trail, which ended up halfway around the world with a happy ending.

More search and rescue: Thanking two members of the team for their service
Eddie, who used to collect militaria had acquired a World War One medal which he wished to pass onto Wayne to sell with the proceeds going to CVSRT.

Wayne, who has been interested in WWI for some years and has carried out considerable amounts of research into members of the community who had served in the forces and war memorials, was surprised to find out that the medal was a Military Medal for ‘Bravery in the Field’.

Arthur's medal

Arthur's medal

The medal had been awarded to an Arthur Robins, a gentleman from Chatham, Kent who had served with the Royal Engineers. However his last known home address was Mill Hill in North Shields.

The medal was extra special because of the circumstances in which it was awarded. Records show that Arthur was killed in action on October 14, 1918 and was awarded the medal posthumously for that action. He was 29 years old.

This was pretty much all that was known at this stage about Arthur, his life and his involvement with the war, so Wayne started to research Arthur’s family and his military service, and also had the medal valued at between £400 and £450.

One day, while searching Ancestry.com he came across a gentleman with the surname Robins who had also done some research on the very same man.

Suspecting a family connection Wayne made contact and left a message saying he may have good news for him and his family.

Shortly afterwards Mark Robins (the great nephew of Arthur Robins) replied and Wayne told him about the medal. He was very interested in getting the medal back to the Robins family, however he lives in South Africa.

It also transpired that Mark is a keen mountaineer who had climbed in Nepal so he thought it was a nice coincidence that a mountain rescue team should benefit from the sale of the medal.

More search and rescue: Rescue team's rapid response to help woman injured in beck fall
Emails were exchanged and as luck would have it, Mark’s brother Anthony was going out to South Africa to visit him.

Within a few short days the medal travelled from West Yorkshire via Weston-super-Mare to Johannesburg in South Africa, and was back in the hands of the Robins family.

The visit of Mark’s brother also enabled a great family photo to be taken with all the Robins men together with Arthur’s photo and his medal.

Further research revealed that other items from Arthur’s war service had survived including written notifications of his death and burial, and his obituary in a local Kent newspaper. These and further items are on the Northumbria World War One website - www.northumbriaworldwarone.co.uk/interactive - and are most likely from Arthur’s wife’s side of the family.

Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team are very grateful to Eddie for his kind donation of the medal for the team to sell, and to Mark Robins and his family for helping raise much-needed funds for the team.

A happy ending for everyone concerned.

If you would like to support CVSRT, please visit: www.cvsrt.org.uk/support-us.