…."Up to the end of last week Formby people were in a position to congratulate themselves on the manner in which their contingent of twelve Volunteers in South Africa had escaped the perils of lead and climate. But on Saturday [16 June] Mr. J. W. Robinson, of Grange-lane, received the sad intelligence that his son, Private W. Robinson (7787), had succumbed to the dreaded enteric fever at Modder Spruit hospital. The news was contained in a letter from Captain Thomas, commanding the Special Service Company, who was himself, at the time of writing, confined in the hospital. It will be remembered that Private Robinson on the voyage out injured his arm. The wound did not heal, and he was obliged to go into hospital for a week. On his dismissal he was not quite fit for active service, and had been invalided for a considerable time. Doubtless the fever found an easy prey in his weakened constitution.
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….It is needless to say that Private Robinson was well-known in the township, where he discharged the duties of a porter at the railway station. He had served for ten years in the local Volunteer company. His age was 29. Although the War Office has been communicated with, no official confirmation of his death has been received. His last letter home was written from Modder Spruit on the 11th May, when he did not complain of illness.
(The Formby Times, June 23, 1900)
In the same issue was this report from the church's evening service on Sunday, 17th June.
THE FATE OF A FORMBY VOLUNTEER. ….At the evening service the following note was sent up to Mr. Humberstone by a member of the congregation: - "Formby Volunteers for South Africa. - Mother received news from War Office that her son, William Robinson, Grange-lane, Freshfield, died from fever yesterday." Mr. Humberstone offered special prayer on behalf of the family, and before he began his sermon he expressed his sympathy with the mother, and hoped the other members of the Formby contingent would return safely.
Private Robinson's family received a memorial tribute medal from the people of Southport & Formby.
The presentation was to have been made by the Mayor of Southport on 16 July 1901, in the the 3rd V.B.K.L.R. Drill Hall, Formby. However no representative of Pte Robinson attended the ceremony:
"The Mayor then handed the medals to the four yeomen named, and the Colonel announced that two others who had gone out had died, namely Troopers ROBINSON and Peter PATTEN, and he asked if there were any representatives of the deceased troopers present. There was no one present on behalf of ROBINSON, but Mr Thomas Patten, father of Trooper PATTEN (who died of wounds), stepped forward and received the medal as a memento of the services of his deceased son". Formby Times, 20th July 1901.
The report wrongly identifies Patten & Robinson as IY troopers.