Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Centurion Robbie

A signi´Čücant event in the life of our Senior Past President approaches!

by Paul Davies

Iain William James Robertson, better known to us all as “Robbie”, was born on January 29th 1917 in the Perthshire town of Aberfeldy and in a few days time, God willing, should be the club’s first Centurion Past President.

In the Spring of 1939 whilst studying for his ACIS at Herriott Watts Academy he answered the call  by volunteering for the RAVR and entered the service on September 1st 1939. After sailing to Canada aboard the liner Queen Mary he was commissioned and trained as a navigator before returning on the Ile De France. Not exactly pleasure cruises, each being so crowded that the cooks had to serve eighteen sittings each day. Robbie was posted to Coastal Command and based at Kinloss for most of the war, covering the Atlantic and North Sea in a wide variety of aircraft ranging from Beaufighters to Lancasters.

During his service there he met a kindred spirit in Squadron Leader Ron “Wally” Wallens DFC, a rugby club member from Stourbridge. After the war Robbie became a  “Gentleman of the Excise” inspecting the records (and the products) of Scottish bonded warehouses and distilleries. During holidays spent in this area Wally introduced him to the delights of The Whittington, Fox, Unicorn, Turf etc. (you get the message).

During a period of boredom up north he saw and successfully applied for the position of Senior Tax Officer for Stourbridge Area 2, only later finding that it covered the Lye and Cradley areas with only one brewery in it. On arriving in Stourbridge in 1955 he immediately joined the Golf Club and the Rugby Club before reporting in to the office.

Although his playing days were over he became closely involved with the club giving players lifts to away matches and becoming Bar Secretary when the club decided to have it’s own bar. He held this post for many years before becoming the Club Cashier, closely checking and banking each week’s takings. When nearly 90 he eventually stood down and retired.

Still a confirmed bachelor, Robbie continues to enjoy the company of the ladies - no worries there! An outstanding club servant fully deserving our best wishes for a great 100th birthday next week.

Inset for the model picture:
When Robbie retired as Bar Secretary a very handy man created this model to present to him. Note the detail of the Customs and Excise tie and mashie niblick. The full inscription reads “Presented to Robbie for appreciation of 20 years service as Bar Secretary to Stourbridge Rugby Football Club.”

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