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Wednesday 17th July 2024  

Discovery of a WW2 US 82nd Airborne ID tag in Quorn

A US Army Identification Plate for Robert M Robinson found in a garden Quorn

In World War Two, the area where Paddock Close and Northage Close are now situated was an Army camp. In 1944 it was the base for the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the US 82nd Airborne Division. Over the years the site has yielded traces of its wartime use and one such item is this US Army Identification Plate which had been issued to Robert M Robinson and is commonly known as a ‘dog tag’. It was found in a garden in Paddock Close, some time ago.

Each US soldier was required to wear two tags around their necks on a chain. In the event of death, one tag would be buried with the body for identification, the other was given to the officer leading the unit.

The notch on the side of the tag was to enable correct orientation into the printing machine and also for attachment to the soldiers records. The first line has the name of the soldier, in this case, Robert M Robinson. The next line is his army serial number, as it starts with a ‘1’ we know that he is a Regular Soldier, followed by the date of his tetanus injections. So in this case, we know that he received the first shot in 1942 with the booster in 1943. The letter ‘A’ indicates his blood group. The next lines are the name and address of the ‘Next of Kin’ and then a single letter, in this case a ‘P’ indicates his religion is protestant.

As with all things military there were very strict regulations concerning all aspects of use of the identification plates. These of course evolved and in the war years alone, there were three types. If the soldiers details changed or a new standard was issued, then the soldiers tag had to be replaced. This particular tag was in use from November 1941 until July 1943. The 505’s were in Quorn initially, from February until May 1944 so, it is likely that the opportunity was taken to replace the tags for the latest standard, and this could be the reason why they were discarded.

Robert M Robinson may well have left his dog tag in Quorn, but it seems it didn’t stop him being awarded a ‘Silver Star’ and later being promoted to the rank of Major. The Silver Star is the US armed forces third-highest gallantry award and the citation for Robert’s award reads:
Private First-Class Robert M Robinson (ASN: 1213786), United States Army, for gallantry in action on 19th September 1944, at ****, Holland. Private First-Class Robert M Robinson Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, advanced with a light machine gun squad and bazooka team toward an enemy held park. Completely disregarding his own personal safety, he advanced up the middle of the street in the face of heavy enemy fire. Shooting from the hip he knocked out two enemy positions, killed five Germans and wounded at least four others. He covered the bazooka team and made it possible for them to place effective fire upon enemy installations. When the group was forced to disengage, Private First-Class Robinson covered them at great risk to himself from enemy automatic weapons, anti-tank guns and 20-mm flak guns. Through his gallant action he undoubtedly saved the lives of several of his comrades. The enemy thus weakened was unable to withstand the attack that followed. The enemy positions disclosed by Private First-Class Robinson and his comrades were overrun and destroyed. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

We know from the Robert M Robinson obituary, published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on 19th December 1997 that Robert had served in Europe in WW2 and had parachuted into Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and Holland. He was Honourably Discharged in 1945 as a Staff Sergeant and continued his education, graduating with a degree in Commerce and Finance. He volunteered to rejoin the Army when the Korean War broke out and remained in the military completing a distinguished career becoming a Major. After retiring he returned to civilian life as a personnel Director. He was married with two daughters.

 Submitted on: 2024-06-16
 Submitted by: Helen Shacklock and Dennis Marchant
 Artefact ID: 2589
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=2589

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