Burson, Robin Hinkley (Jim)

Age: 29
Date of birth: 29th June 1912

Parents: Robin Ealand and Daisy Laura Elizabeth Burson of 125 Cape Road
Wife: Nora Phyliss Burson nee Underhill
Address: 6 Station Avenue, Warwick

Occupation: Worked at Lockheed Brake Company in Leamington

Robin Hinkley Burson was born in Chiswick, London in 1912 and baptised on 2nd February 1913 in Turnham Green Church, Hounslow. His father, Robin Ealand was employed as a Window Dresser at that time. Robin had a sister, Muriel, born in 1914 and a brother, Jack, who was born in 1915.

Robin Senior worked as a steward travelling back and forth to the USA on passenger ships. In 1923 he applied for USA citizenship having left his wife Daisy behind in England. He was married twice in the USA, and had 2 daughters by the second marriage.
According to the census of 1939 Robin’s mother Daisy was living in Dawlish, Devon. The Census record shows her as married and working as a nurse attendant. The Census shows Robin’s brother Jack (aged 24) was living with her and serving in HM Forces. Muriel’s name probably redacted. Jack married Gwendoline N Gibbs later in 1939.

Before joining the Navy Robin worked at Lockheed Brake Company in Leamington.

Robin married Nora Underhill in Q3 1938 in Warwick. Nora had been born in Warwick and was baptised in July 1906.

Military Service

Rank & Number: Able Seaman, P/JX 213754
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy
Brigade/Division: HMS President III - SS Baron Erskine
Date of death: 10th January 1942
Cause of death/Battle: Lost at sea,
Commemorated/Buried: Commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Panel 63, Column 2.
Commemorated locally at:

Portsmouth Naval Memorial


Robin ‘Jim’ Burson joined the Merchant Navy as an Able Seaman and Gunner. The importance of the stokers keeping the engines at full power was demonstrated on 6th January 1942 when Jim’s ship the SS Baron Erskine, en route to Garston in Liverpool from Tampa Florida, fell behind its convoy and the escorts because of so-called ‘bad coal’. The ship was torpedoed off the west coast of Ireland. The 41 members of the crew took to lifeboats and according to German naval records, the submarine, U-701, surfaced and the captain Horst Degen questioned the men. The U-boat then submerged. The lifeboats were not found and none of the seamen survived.


  • Unlocking Warwick Research Group
  • Warwick Advertiser excerpt courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office

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