One hundred years ago today, Corporal Sidney Robinson and three riflemen from 4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps were killed in a desperate struggle whilst on patrol near Neohori (now Amfipoli) at the southern end of the Struma Valley.
Part of 80th Infantry Brigade, 27th Division, 4/KRRC was encamped at Kato Krusoves at the southern end of the Struma Valley near the Gulf of Orfano. At 2250 on 18 December 1916 three platoons from ‘A’ Company were sent out to patrol the higher ground around Neohori village (now Amfipoli) on the Turkish side of the River Struma. All was going well and there was a hope of cutting off a Turkish patrol but, in the confusion of the night, some of the riflemen were themselves cut off by a party of 80-100 Turks. Outnumbered, the riflemen rushed into bushes to lie low until the Turks had gone. Unfortunately one of them lost his balance and knocked over a Lewis Gun, which gave them away. In the resulting struggle four were bayonetted and killed, two men shot and wounded and three captured. One Turkish soldier was confirmed killed, although it was believed that shells from 148th Battery RFA had hit the retiring Turks.
Killed in action:
- Corporal Sidney James Robinson
- Rifleman W. Baynes
- Rifleman J. Hines
- Rifleman Bernard Walker
- L/Cpl S. Randle
- Rifleman E. Windsor
Missing, believed prisoners:
- Rifleman W. Smith
- Rifleman P. Vickers
- Rifleman G. Willis
A full account of the action, including an annotated map, can be found in the Battalion War Diary at the National Archives, Kew (WO 95/4890).
My thanks go to Mark Robinson, the grandson of Sidney Robinson, who contacted the SCS before going to Thessaloniki. He is visiting his grandfather’s grave in the Mikra CWGC Cemetery on the 19th, the centenary of his death. Before leaving for Thessaloniki, Mark visited Kew and discovered the full details of the patrol, which he has kindly shared with us and has even sent a photograph taken yesterday (17th) on the fateful ridge.