Veteran Tom Robinson MC

MC - Military Cross

172504 Lieutenant Thomas Trevor Robinson MC (South African Engineering Corps)


On the 4th February, 1949, the Acting Adjutant General in Pretoria certified the actions of Lt Robinson during the Tripoli Campaign, which earned him his Military Cross. This was an action that the Acting Adjutant General had witnessed personally.

“I wish to bring to notice the action and work of Lieutenant Thomas Trevor Robinson, South African Engineering Corps, whom I saw working on the clearing and repair of demolitions in the Tarhuna Pass on the Tarhuna – Tripoli Road.

Lieutenant Robinson was in charge of a bulldozer team filling in certain demolitions and making diversions at another. The speed and skill with which this team worked was quite remarkable. There were in fact one or more D.A. charges and there should have been many mines. The team was quite regardless of such danger and their speed and enthusiasm resulted in a route being available into the Tripoli plain at surprisingly short notice.

I was present and saw the above work being carried out by Lieutenant Robinson. This position and other demolition on which he worked were being shelled., and I consider it was largely due to his leadership and initiative that the Eighth Army was enabled to advance many hours sooner than anticipated”

Lieutenant Robinson was born on the 9th October, 1916 in Kimberley and he went to school at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth. His tertiary education was at Witwatersrand University, where he achieved his BSC (Eng.) Civil in 1938. Later he studied part time at Pretoria University for his MBA degree in 1958. He gained Fellowship at the Institute of Engineers at both the South African and Australian Institutes.

He saw four and a half years of overseas active service, mostly in forward areas in Kenya and Abyssinia (1941), North Africa (Alamein to Tunis) (1942-43) and Italy (1944/45) with personal front-line experience in the battles of Tarhuna, Medenine, Mareth, Wadi Akarit (North Africa) and Cassino, as well as the capture of Bologna (Italy).

He completed his service with the rank of Captain and he earned the Military Cross Decoration (MC), the 39/45 Star, the Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp, the Italy Star, the Africa Service Medal, the Victory Medal and the Coronation Medal.

He re-joined his civilian occupation as a Roads Engineer to advance to State Manager and Director, General Manager and finally a Management Consultant.

Tom immigrated to Australia with his wife and 3 small sons on a "Wing and a Prayer" in 1960. He became the Victorian Manager and Director Lend Lease Development from 1960 to 1964. He then became Group Development Manager, followed by promotion to General Manager of John Holland Engineering Consortium from 1964 to 1974. He ran his own Corporate Management Consultancy from 1974 to 1995,when he retired.

He was a Life Member of the Westernport Yacht Club and he was a Legatee of the Melbourne Legacy for some 30 years.

Tom recalled a number of humorous incidents that are recorded in his War Memoires in a book he wrote for his sons and his Grandchildren. It is called "Lady Luck be my Friend", but this is not for general publication and a very limited number of copies. One copy has been accepted by each of the Libraries of the Australian War Memorial and the SA Military History Museum.

Tom became a Member of SAMVOA on the 25th April 2005 and was a very popular member right up to his death in 2012 Many members attended the celebration of his life and we will remember him.

Lest we Forget.