Private Robin Holburn

Private Alfred Robin Holburn


Unit : Mortar Group, 7th (Galloway) Battalion The King's Own Scottish Borderers

Army No. : 14426090

Awards : Military Medal


While dug in near DZ-Y and waiting for the arrival of the 4th Parachute Brigade on Monday 18th September, Private Robin Holburn believed that he heard German voices not 100 yards from his position, and he considered bringing his 3" mortar to bear on them, but in the event he felt it prudent to remain silent and not needlessly give away the location of the Observation Post that he had established. On the following day the Brigade attempted to retreat across the railway line, however Holburn's experience demonstrates the difficult of negotiating the steep embankment. Holburn went across to help a Jeep make its way up the embankment but it proved impossible and, helping the driver to bring his vehicle back onto the track, it departed in the direction of Wolfheze. Holburn and his mortar team attempted to haul their handcart, containing their precious mortar rounds, up the embankment and over to the other side, but their efforts were similarly frustrated. For his actions in the Oosterbeek Perimeter, Private Holburn was awarded the Military Medal:


At Ollerton, near Arnhem on 22nd September, when the Machine Gun he was manning was knocked out by enemy fire, Private Holburn shot an enemy sniper and seized his rifle and ammunition. With these he set himself up in a partially demolished house where he remained throughout the next two days acting as a sniper on his own account. This house became a target for enemy 20mm and Self-Propelled Gun fire at close range and was repeatedly hit. Despite having to leave it several times on this account, Private Holburn constantly returned to his self appointed task and continued to take toll of any enemy who exposed themselves. His initiative, marksmanship and courageous devotion to duty acted as a distinct deterrent to enemy infiltration. Throughout the whole operation he remained confident and cheerful, set an example which was an inspiration to all his comrades.


Holburn safely made it across the Rhine when the Division withdrew on the 25th September and, promoted to Lance-Corporal, he participated in the Arnhem Investiture at Buckingham Palace on the 6th December 1944.


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