Harold Victor Robinson AM

b. ? Scotland. d. 10/1969 Kangeroo Point, Queensland, Australia.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 20/12/1917 Polegate, Sussex.

Harold Victor Robinson was born in Scotland, and served during the Great War as an Air Mechanic 1st Class in the Royal Naval Air Service. He was based at the R.N.A.S. Airship Base Polegate when, ‘the weather… during the forenoon of December 20, 1917, inclined to be hazy with a small amount of sun showing through. The temperature was low, the snow which had fallen in the preceding days now lying around fairly thickly, covering everything with a frozen blanket. In these conditions five SS Zero class airships had taken off for a normal operational patrol over the approaches to the English Channel.

During the afternoon of December 20, about 1500 hours, a thick sea fog came swirling in over the snow covered Downs making visibility very poor. So the call went out from Polegate for “All ships to return to base”. This was not simple to do, as events would show.

Above the fog the five ships made their way homewards but as daylight faded hopes of making base vanished with the light. The captains aloft made a standard decision to find a suitable site to moor out for the night or to wait for the fog to disperse. SSZ 6 came down safely in a field north of Hailsham. SSZ 7 and SSZ 19 came in near Beachy Head Coastguard Station. SSZ 9 and SSZ 10 were to come down separately at Hill Farm, Willingdon.

After the war Robinson emigrated to Australia, and he died at Kangaroo Point in October 1969 and was cremated.



On the occasion of an accident to one of His Majesty’s airships, which resulted in a fire breaking out on board her, Flight Lieutenant Watson, who was the senior Officer on the spot, immediately rushed up to the car of the airship under the impression that one of the crew was still in it, although he was well aware that there were heavy bombs attached to the airship which it was impossible to remove owing to the nearness of the fire, and which were almost certain to explode at any moment on account of the heat. Having satisfied himself that there was in fact no one in the car, he turned’ away to render assistance elsewhere, and at that moment one of the bombs exploded, a portion of it shattering Lieutenant Watson’s right arm at the elbow. The arm had to be amputated almost immediately. Air Mechanic H. V. Robinson and Boy Mechanic E. E. Steere, on the occasion of an accident to one of His Majesty’s airships which caused a fire to break out on board her, approached the burning airship without hesitation, extricated the pilot and two members of the crew, all of whom were seriously injured, and then unclipped the bombs from the burning car and carried them out of reach of the fire. As the bombs were surrounded by flames, and were so hot that they scorched the men’s hands as they carried them, they must have expected the bombs to explode.