About Robin MacKellar
Robin was born in Bauple, Queensland in 1888 to Alexander and Edith MacKellar. He attended Gafton College & Brisbane Technical College and trained as an industrial chemist. Robin also volunteered with the 13th Australian Light Horse for 18 months.
Robin’s uncle Frank Biddles was a prominent pearler and pastoralist in Broome from the early 1900s. Robin arrived in Broome around 1910 and worked at Engadine Station at La Grange. Robin also worked for Streeter & Male as well as for his uncle’s pearling fleet, eventually staring his own pearling operation. Robin was in Broome when he enlisted and his medical was performed by Dr. Harada.
Robin travelled to Blackboy Hill in Perth to complete his enlistment and was assigned to the 28th Battalion, 9th Reinforcements. He embarked with his unit aboard the HMAT Miltiades A28 on the 12th February 1916. After training in Alexandria the 28th were sent to the Western Front and landed in Marseilles in May. Robin became sick with bronchitis in June, but had recovered enough to join the battalion for the Battle at Pozieres, where he was declared missing in action and later declared killed in action.
Pozières : The Battle of the Somme
In July 1916 the 28th Battalion, as part of the 2nd Division was involved in a series of attacks aimed at the capture of key German positions and the wearing down of the enemy. By the 23rd July the 1st & 2nd Division had been successful in capturing the Pozières village despite almost continuous artillery fire and repeated German counter-attacks. A further push to take Pozieres heights was planned for the 29th July but the Germans were ready and the attack failed at a cost of 3,500 Australian casualties, including six men from Broome
We made a charge on the night of Friday July 28th soon after midnight. The various companies went over in a wave. The Germans opened tremendous fire on us with artillery trench mortar, machine gun and every conceivable form of weapon. The men were falling in all directions.
Other Online Resources
View Robin MacKellar at the National Archives of Australia
View Robin MacKellar at the Australian War Memorial