Remembering his time in WW2

2017-05-22 11:51
Pietermaritzburg World War heroes Rex Pennington (left) and Walter Keith Robinson with a copy of Robinson’s memoir.

Pietermaritzburg World War heroes Rex Pennington (left) and Walter Keith Robinson with a copy of Robinson’s memoir. (Thabang Mathebula)

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Pietermaritzburg - Seventy-two years after the end of WW2, a veteran of the war has finally put pen to paper and written his memoir as a legacy for his family.

Hilton resident Walter Keith Robinson (97), who fought in north Africa, has for the first time written about his experience in a war that is estimated to have cost the lives of more than 60 million people.

Robinson, who was 17 years old when he joined the armed forces, had to get permission from his father so that he could “liberate the world from evil”.

He was part of the Pietermartizburg-based Natal Carbineers Regiment, an infantry unit of the South African Army.

On Friday, Robinson and his friend and fellow veteran Rex Pennington (93), and their families and friends celebrated the release of the self-published memoir, which contains a detailed personal account of Robinson’s experience of the war.


Robinson, who struggles to hear and has poor eyesight, rolled back the years as he spoke about his exploits on the battlefield and the memories he has of those who fought alongside him.

Robinson said one of his friends, Liz Tweedie, was instrumental in urging him to write his memoir after the latter had heard Robinson’s war tales at a mutual friend’s 80th birthday party.

“She persuaded me to write and I finally agreed. It was a long time ago but I still remember the good friends and the good times we had in the world,” said an emotional Robinson.

He said he joined the war because he was anti-Nazi.

“I did not hate the Germans but I hated the things that Adolf Hitler had done.

“When the war ended we were happy as it meant the end of casualties. We lost a lot of people,” he said.

Pennington said he was proud of his contribution to the war.

“We were so distressed about the things that Hitler was doing and we wanted to stop him.

“We saw the scariest things in the war and some of our friends suffered post-traumatic depression and they never recovered,” Pennington said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  good news

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