DUCEMUS - We Lead!

Robinson - Letters Home

These transcripts are of two letters from Lt. Robinson to his mother, Ruth Robinson, nee Walker, a letter to his uncle Maurice Robinson, and a letter from Red Cross worker, Mary Elizabeth Corken. Family and friends knew him as "Walker." His fellow officers knew him as "Robbie." His uncle was an educator and founder of the SCHOLASTIC MAGAZINE.

April 20, 1942

Dear Mother,
  A letter isn't much good these days when it takes at least two months to reach you, but I guess you got my wire from over here. I have received a couple of letters you wrote when I first left - seems rather strange to read news two months old, but yet it is still nice to have letters to read.
  We have been operating - you have without a doubt heard news broadcasts about our activities, but of course didn't know who it was. I've been on several raids and have come back - it isn't much fun now that they shoot real bullets at you. I took a bullet out of my engine when I got back from my first one. I'm going to hang it on a watch chain and twirl it round my fingers when I get back home - ought to be good material for a good story. This isn't going to be any push over as those of us who have been up north have found out.
  I can't understand war - and have given up trying, but I would sure like a safer job than being a combat pilot. If I have plenty of good luck I might make it home - but we don't talk much about that - I mean about not getting home. We are always talking about what we will do when we get back to the States. Some of it is sure funny.
  You remember Carl Lancaster - well he went down on the first leg of the trip from H- over here - was a bad storm over the island & two of them flew around & ran out of gas - one person out of two ships got out. Another boy in our Squadron never made it to this country either.
  The last raid I was on we lost our Squadron Commander - it was his first raid & we haven't seen nor heard from him since - three days ago now. You see that's how it goes - someone goes out & doesn't return - and nothing is done - in two days no one ever mentions their names - it's easier that way I guess.
  I don't want to sound too bad in this letter but that's about the only way I can show you all back home how things are here. Oh we live O.K. - have nice tents, good cots & blankets - fair food, but that is away back here where we are pretty save from enemy attack. Our main base is about 600 miles from our jumping off place for a mission and then our objective is another 600 miles away - a raid takes about 17 hours from here & sometimes 2 or 3 days for a round trip. My last one I left here at 3 o'clock one morning and got home at 10 the same night. Was I ever a tired little boy after 16 hours of flying mostly at night and through rainstorms and also the run over the enemy.
  This may be all cut up, but if it is then I've said more than allowed.
  I hope you are all well at home and I hope we can have a big party when this is all over.
  Don't worry - it doesn't help - by the way the APO # is 922 now, but what it will be when you get this I have no idea.

Lots of love to all - Walker

Walker and Betty
Red Cross worker Mary Elizabeth Corken with Col. Robinson.
David Ghen Collection.

July 6, 1942

Dear Mother,
  Sitting safely in my tent to keep out of the rain. This is the second all day rain we've had in the past month. (Here about five or six lines were censored.) On the (censored) if you remember we pulled an attack on a certain place which you must know. I wasn't out on that one but one of the boys in our Sqd. was. He was rammed by a (censored) and didn't get back. His loss has been felt very much because he was the nicest fellow in the outfit - most popular because of his quiet good sincerity. Enclosed are a bunch of pictures of our boys. I was going to start an album here, but I'm afraid I might lose it so instead I'm going to send them home. If some of them don't read too well on the back it's because of the war.
  I haven't had any mail for a couple of weeks, but it usually comes in bunches. I hope you get all the wires I send home. I try to get one off every other week or so, however, there is no set time for them so don't take them as anything special.
  By now you must be well into your summer. That is, when you get this it will be over even. We hear all kinds of rumors, such as (one or two lines censored) that is true (which I doubt) I've got half of my stretch covered. We haven't had (five or six lines censored).
  If a write-up by a "Pat Robinson" got in the paper about this time, don't believe all of it. Parts of course are true, but it probably was enlarged upon a lot to make a good human interest story as the press call them.
  Have I ever told you that most of my spare evenings are spent playing bridge. Sounds rather funny doesn't it, being at war, but yet having time for cards, we find that much better than doing nothing and bridge can be a very good game. In fact now there are ten of the fellows in our tent - four playing bridge, two watching, two reading and two writing letters. They are here I guess because our tent is dryer than theirs.
  I hope your are getting my letters. Your last one of May 14th didn't indicate that you had received any. I didn't write much in March, so that is probably the reason. I've been doing better of late, and will try to keep up the work - good or bad. Your letters, and if others would write, would be appreciated. The best news I ever get is the news from YOU (sic) and home. Until the next time, lots of love from the far east or north west or wherever I am supposed to be.

Love, Walker

Feb 6, 1944
Hqs. 22nd Bomb Group (H)
APO 713 Unit 1

Dear Mose,

I must feel like a man to be calling you Mose, but I believe I have earned that
privilege by now.
  In Mother's last letter she mentioned being in New York and seeing you and the family. Of course I didn't know about the latest, but by now it must have arrived. So congratulations and all - and I hope Florence and the baby are both well.
  You enclosed a note several months ago in your weekly Sport Letter wondering how I liked it and if I received them. The latest one I received was dated Nov. 30, 1943, so you see it takes them some tome to get here. What I want to know before I say any more is who cuts them out and mails them. You don't really do that yourself so who does it - maybe Dickie - No - must be one of your secretaries - maybe if she is a smoothie it would be better for her to write a letter each week - truthfully M.R. I don't care much about sports in the U.S, any more - two years over here and I have other things to think about - such as - when I come home is there going to be any good scotch left to buy - and do I have to be one of the many G.I. officers who try to look as though they are winning the war from N.Y.C. or Washington.
  I believe you can spend those extra few minutes each week deciding how we can educate the younger ones so that all will not be lost after this war. That is your work - I'm doing mine - but you must be ready to guide boys like myself after this is over.
  For example - I'm now a Group Commander - have over a thousand men under my command. I like the job and believe I'm doing a fairly good job of it, but when the war is over and we go back to civilian work - what will I do? Any old work won't be good enough because I'm too big for that - yet I'm not trained for anything other that the Army. Of course this is my own problem, but remember that there must be thousands of young men with the same problem. We don't feel that anyone owes us anything, but we must be helped or guided into our proper work.
  You worry about that - and your job is a hell of a lot tougher than mine.
  Best regards to Florence and the kids - see you in about six months.


Philippine Islands
Jan 26, 1945
Dear Mrs. Robinson,
  I have tried to write you ever since Mon. but my heart has been too full and my mind too numb to compose any sort of letter.
  I do not know how much Robbie told you about me, but I have known and loved him for the past seven months, so in some small measure know how you must feel. I can sincerely say that he is one of the finest men I have met overseas - and I think the most wonderful. He was always a gentleman and most liked and highly respected by all who knew him.
  He has told me so often how much he loved and respected you, and that you alone are responsible for whatever he has made of himself.
  I thought you might like to know in brief what happened.
  It was a crash on the take off of a very important mission. I learned of it a few hours later just as I came home from church. A very close friend of ours, Marge Russell, relayed General Crabb's message to me. All the girls knew Robbie and were terribly shocked.
  General Crabb called again that evening to say that the funeral would be next day at Tacloban, so two of Robbie's pilots flew down Monday afternoon for me and eight other Red Cross Girls.
  The cemetery is very old - with grilled gates brightly colored tropical flowers climbing and palm trees in the background. The military section is in back of the Philippino section and kept beautifully.
  A simple palm branch covered the graves and the sky was alternately clear and cloudy.
  General Crabb, all the commanding officers of all the Fifth Air Force Bomb Groups, and many men from Rob's group were there. The six honorary pallbearers held the flag over his grave while both the Catholic and Protestant chaplains prayed for all those killed in the crash. "Taps" were blown, a moment of silence and the flag was presented to the General. Those few moments were the hardest I've ever known.
  I hope you wanted to know the details - I know I would. If there is anything more you would like to know, I'll answer anything I can.
  I want you to know that I admire you tremendously, because you gave the world such a wonderful son.

APO 710 c/o P.M.,S.F

Cy Klimesh

I am proud to have served with the Red Raiders

Squadron insignia from THE MARAUDERS, courtesy of Bob Crawford

Keep 'em Flying!