Lives Remembered

Colonel Robin Charley: Korean War veteran and driving force behind Somme museum

Robin Charley volunteered to fight in the Korean War. Picture from The Somme Association

KOREAN War veteran Colonel Robin Charley was a driving force behind the Somme museum in Co Down.

Born in Dunmurry, his father and an uncle fought at the Somme during the First World War and Robin enlisted in the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1943, serving in Europe and Palestine.

When he heard the regiment was being sent to Korea in 1950 he volunteered to go - and when told there were no vacancies for his rank of captain, he dropped to lieutenant and took a pay cut so he did not miss out.

Colleagues recalled how his keen sense of humour was on his display, including one occasion when he 'borrowed' a trailer with supplies for 100 men from a US supply dump and signed the invoice "Mickey Mouse".

In 2012 he would encourage the Somme Association to start work on a project to see veterans from the conflict return to Korea for the 60th anniversary and have a permanent memorial established.

After his retirement from the British army Col Charley gave his time to the Royal Ulster Rifles museum, St John Ambulance, and was chairman of the board of Clifton House.

In the early 1990s he became a trustee and honorary treasurer of the newly-established Somme Association, set up remember the sacrifices of all those from Ireland who served in the First World War.

Colonel Robin Charley died aged 95 on Monday July 15. Picture from The Somme Association

His enthusiasm helped see the creation of the Somme Heritage Centre - later the Somme Musuem - in Conlig in 1994 - and he served as its chairman until 2011.

Carol Walker, director of The Somme Association, said he would be remembered "as a truly remarkable gentleman who was full of life, and a man of integrity".

"He was inspirational, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He had a fun-loving nature and could captivate people with his stories.

"He will be deeply missed by all in the Somme Association but his legacy will live on in the Somme Musuem."

Colonel Robin Charley died aged 95 on Monday July 15.

Predeceased by his wife Jane, he is survived by three daughters and four grandchildren.

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Lives Remembered