Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1971, Private John Thomas Robinson, 1st Battalion, the Green Howards, was killed in Northern Ireland.
He was among the troops called in when youths were stoning cars on the Crumlin Road in Belfast. The soldiers jumped out as their vehicles pulled up outside a local church, after which they heard gunfire. Then one of Private Robinson’s colleagues reported that he saw him stagger and fall, but that it was not clear from which of two street corners the shots came. No-one claimed responsibility for Private Robinson’s death; he is noted as being the first Catholic soldier to be killed.
The following month, Private Robinson’s mother wrote to the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Joseph Foster Cairns: “Until this happened, I never knew there were so many people in the world who were willing to share my grief. Life still has to go on and I only hope that this trouble is soon over so that all your good people are allowed to settle down to everyday life.” Private Robinson is buried in the Thorntree Roman Catholic Cemetery in Middlesbrough.
John, from Middlesbrough, was 22 years old.