Charles Richard Robins, Biography

2nd Oct 1860 - 14th Mar 1935
Charles Richard Robins was born on 2nd October 1860 in County Cork, Ireland where his father, Charles Robins of Mevagissey Cornwall, was stationed with his family on active duty for the Royal Navy, assigned to the HMS Sans Pareil.  His mother was Jane Jago, also of Mevagissey.  He followed his father's footsteps into the Navy.  According to his Navy record, Charles was about 5' 7" with blue eyes, a fair complexion and light brown hair.  The civil registers and personal family records both record Charles' birth as 1860, while the Navy shows his birth as 1859.  It was not uncommon for recruits to overstate their age so they could enlist in the Navy sooner.  Apparently, he joined the Royal Navy on his 17th birthday.

On 28th November 1888 in Ardnaree Church, Ballina, Co. Mayo, he married Sarah Lewis, the daughter of Coastguard John Lewis who had served on the SS Valiant with his father.  Although, Sarah was born
in Londonderry, her parents, John Lewis
and Ruth Bryant, came from Cornwall, UK. 
Charles and Sarah had nine children;
Charles, Florence, Mabel, George Edwin,
Edith, George Thorne, Isabelle, William,
and Archie.  All the children were born on
the Isle of Wight while Charles was serving
at the Coast Guard station there.  George
Edwin and Archie died in infancy, while
Florence's twin sister, Mable, died at the
age of only 26.

Charles Richard Robins (1860-1935)
born Queenstown, Co. Cork, Ireland
Charles spent the last decade of his career as Chief Officer of the Coast Guard
station in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, Ireland, as recorded in the 1911 census,
until his retirement in 1919.  He attended the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. 
After retirement and during the time of political unrest immediately prior to Ireland's
independence in 1922, he moved his family to Minions in Cornwall, and later in
1929 they finally settled in Cheddar, Somerset.

Charles' grand-daughter, May, remembers him as a kindly man of medium build and upright stature, though she never saw him in his Navy uniform.  While living in Minions, Charles would take May and her siblings to school and for walks on the moors.  Once, while out walking with his grand-children, Charles stopped and removed his hat as a sign of courtesy to a passing funeral procession, when young Rixie interupted with "Who's in the box?"

Charles' daughters, Bella and Florence with her family, also moved to Cheddar when Florence's husband, Thomas de Courcy, secured a job as a car and bicycle mechanic at Goughs Garage at the bottom of the Lippiatt in Cheddar.  Thomas' employers rented the adjacent two bedroomed cottage (without any indoor plumbing) in the Lippiatt to Thomas, Florence and their seven children for a modest rent, while Bella lived with Charles and Sarah in Draycott Road.

Each evening, Charles, Sarah and Bella would walk from their home in Draycott Road to visit Florence and her family in the Lippiatt.  His cat would follow him halfway, then wait patiently in the hedge until he returned.  Just before reaching the Lippiatt, Charles would stop at the Butcher's Arms (pub) for a "swift half" (half pint of beer), while Sarah and Bella continued on to Florence's cottage.  However, he never treated anyone in the pub nor accepted a drink from anyone.  He then joined the family in the Lippiatt for a couple
of hours before they all walked home, meeting the
cat again on their return. Charles also took his
grandchildren for walks in and around Cheddar.

Charles was fiercly patriotic and would always
fly his Union Jack on special occasions.  After
the death of his wife Sarah on the 4th April 1934,
Charles became bedridden with heart problems
and so on one occasion, had asked his daughter,
Bella, to hoist the flag for him.  Shortly afterwards
a neighbour knocked at the door asking if there
was a problem....the flag was upside down!

On 14th March 1935, May was visting her Aunt
Bella at Charles' home, when they heard a loud
thump on the ceiling.  They rushed upstairs to
find Charles had fallen out of bed and died. 
Charles and Sarah are buried in St. Andrew's
church graveyard in Cheddar, Somerset.


    by David Gallagher & May (nee de Courcy) Johnson, 2010
Charles' wife, Sarah  Lewis
(1861-1934)
Part of Charles Richard Robins service record with the Royal Navy (below)
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