Phil Robin was a Norwood hero who made his name on the football field and then the battlefield. Lance Corporal Robin and fellow scout Private Arthur Blackburn penetrated to Third Ridge at the start of the Gallipoli campaign in April 1915. This was the furthest any Allied troops advanced in the whole Anzac misadventure. Robin was killed on the third day of the campaign. Blackburn went on to win the Victoria Cross at Pozières.
Philip de Quetteville Robin, a product of St Peter’s College, made his league debut with Norwood in 1905, and was widely acknowledged as one of the finest wingmen in the game. An interstate representative on seven occasions, he played in South Australia's victorious 1911 carnival. That same year he received Norwood's best and fairest player award.
Scrupulously fair, Robin delighted fans with his electrifying dashes down the wing, weaving and dodging his way past opponents. He was somewhat unfortunate to play during what was effectively a time of rebuilding at Norwood, but if anything this made the high quality of his football stand out even more.
Robin, a bank teller, enlisted as a private in the 10th Battalion and was granted special permission to marry his Adelaide sweetheart, Miss Nellie Honeywill, in Cairo on Sunday, January 17, 1915. Proposing a toast to the bride and groom, the CO, Colonel S. Price Weir, said:
“I do not suppose that a similar wedding has been solemnized so close to the mighty Pyramids for many years; indeed for many thousands of years. We have all known Pte. Robin as a brilliant footballer. When he wore the red-and-blue of the Norwood club, he played hard and clean, and helped to win the game for his side. Now that he has donned the colours of his country, red, white, and blue, I am sure that he will be as good and brave a soldier as he was an exponent of football. We all hope that when we have defeated our enemies he will return to South Australia with his wife, to peace, long life, and prosperity.” (Cheers.)
It was not to be. Robin’s best man, Malcolm Teesdale-Smith, was fatally wounded at the Gallipoli landing. Robin barely survived him and his war bride died in childbirth together with her infant son, in England seven months later. Three of Robin’s cousins also died in the war.
P Robins Feb 2013