© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
13 Jesse William Robins
Private: 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment
Jesse was born on Saturday the 14th of January 1893 at Old Hill, Avening and was baptised at Holy
Cross Church, Avening when 43 days old. His father, Charles Robins was born in Cherington in 1868,
moving to Avening after marrying Elizabeth Ayres in the year prior to Jesse's birth. Jesse was the
eldest of five children (with a brother and three sisters) the youngest being born and baptised in
Avening in 1903. He also had a half-brother, Albert Ayres, who was born to Elizabeth before her
marriage. (We will learn more of Albert in a later Roll of Honour entry).
Jesse was another of Kitchener's New Army, volunteering in 1915 and joining the 7th Battalion,
Glosters about the middle of that year. Initially, he was sent with other reinforcements, to join the
Battalion in Gallipoli entering that area in November 1915, a couple of months after the dreadful
losses at Chunuk Bar (Avening lost Herbert Ind in that battle - see Roll of Honour No. 7).
The 7th Battalion remained in the Helles area as part of the 39th Brigade until January 1916 but
ending up in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in February 1916.
The war in Mesopotamia had been going since Autumn 1914 in an effort to defend oil supplies from
invading Turkish forces. The initial efforts were made by an army of Indian and Burmese Divisions
and early successes were recorded there in 1915, strong advances being made towards Baghdad,
coming to a halt some 18 miles short at Ctesiphon. The British and Allied forces were now some 500
miles from their base at Basra and were unable to receive the required reinforcements to press
home the advance. In November 1915, a profitless battle was fought at Ctesiphon and the British
were forced to retreat to Al-Kut, on the River Tigris. There, our 10,000 strong army was besieged by
the Turks until April 1916 when they were forced to surrender into captivity.
Several attempts were made to relieve the besieged troops and 13th Division, including 39 Brigade
and the 7th Glosters were to take part in the third of these. The Glosters moved into a forward area
on the 11th of April 1916 and having met a stalemate in attacks on Sannaiyat on the banks of the
Tigris river, the emphasis was changed to the other side of the river at the Turkish-held position at
The Glosters, together with battalions of the North Staffs, Warwickshire and Worcestershire
Regiments took Bait Asia on the 17th. Taking it was one thing, holding it another and the Turkish
forces launched 10,000 troops against our lines. Although beaten back with the loss of 4,000, the
British loss of 1600 troops made further progress impossible. However, new attempts were planned
and in one section of the line, the Glosters were given the task of opening and maintaining a
communication trench through which a further attack could be made. They dug for 48 hours being
constantly attacked by the Turks and on Saturday the 22nd of April 1916 the work was continuing.
About 11 pm a small enemy attack was made on the trench works but was repelled with
considerable loss to them. However during this attack 4 Glosters were killed, one of whom was Jesse
He was 23 years and 99 days old and unmarried and was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal,
the British Medal and the 1915 Star. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Basra
Memorial. His name is one of 40,656 identified casualties listed who fell in Mesopotamia between
Autumn 1914 and August 1921 when hostilities ceased.
Barry Robins of Sun Ground is Jesse's cousin, (first cousin, once removed) and we were able to
acquaint him of his relationship to the Roll of Honour.