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Michael Robinson
Late Irish Guards

by Robert Frewen
formerly Irish Guards

Michael Cradock Robinson died on 24th November at the age of 93. He served in the Micks from 1945 to 1948 and remained a Mick ever after, being a keen attender at the Quis Dinner and other Regimental events. He was followed into the Micks by his son, Gavin, who sadly predeceased him.

Michael was born 7th May 1927 and educated at Radley from where he was commissioned into the Micks in 1945. The high point of his service was on internal security operations in Palestine in 1947, a role well suited to his natural charm and tact as well as his intelligence.

During his time in the Micks he made some lifelong friends: John Udall and Peter Talbot-Willcox, and his very close friend to the end, John Swire. After leaving the Army and working in America for three years, he joined Peter Willcox at Eggar Forrester, the foundation of what became a glittering career in shipping. His array of directorships included British Shipbuilders, Hill Samuel Bank, and Lloyds Register. He was Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, and a trustee of Kent Wildlife and Chatham Historic Dockyard.

Michael was a keen cricketer and skier, but my contact with him came not through the Micks where I was a contemporary of his son Gavin, but through my wife Rolline whose family own Alvie Estate. When Rolline’s parents moved into the big house, they let Alvie Manse to Michael and his wife Elizabeth, along with various bits of grouse shooting, stalking and fishing. There then followed a lasting family friendship founded on shared values but mostly on a shared sense of humour. Elizabeth used to lay up breakfast every night before retiring, only to find that Rolline and her siblings had snuck in during the night and removed breakfast lock, stock and barrel, laying it up carefully on the path to the kirk in time for the arrival of the Sunday morning faithful. On another occasion, Rolline’s brother managed to lower crow scarers into the down pipes of the manse, arranging for them to go off at intervals through the night. On a third, Rolline’s aunt (a braw Scots lass) picked Michael up and threw him bodily into the back of a trailer for some minor misdemeanour. Michael did get his own back, once leading a raiding party from the manse to kidnap Rolline’s uncle Donald and leaving him, sans culottes, at the bottom of the Alvie drive.

Such was the friendship that Rolline asked Michael to make the speech for her at our wedding as her father had died the year before.

Michael was a man who could relate to any generation and never ever talked down to the young. He possessed a skill that is undervalued: he listened and did so with great empathy. His was wise counsel, but he never took himself too seriously, an apt epitaph for any Mick. He leaves behind his elder son, Simon and two grandchildren.

Quis Separabit

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