John Robinson was the second son of Revd Edward Cecil Robinson and Edith Isabella, née Milner, of ‘Chadsmore’, 5 Orchard Rd, Malvern, Worcestershire. He was educated at Radley College, where he played cricket and football in the school 1st XIs. A keen hockey player, he played for the University XI from 1905 to 1909, latterly as Captain; in his first three matches against Cambridge his twin brother, Laurence, was on the opposing team. He won a gold medal with the English hockey team at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. When he left University he was a schoolmaster at Sherborne Prep School and at Broadstairs, Kent, for a short while before being commissioned into the North Staffordshire Regiment.
After undergoing training in England, his battalion sailed from Avonmouth in June 1915 and landed at Gallipoli after a month at sea. On 26th January 1916 the battalion landed in Egypt, and a month later arrived in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) as part of a force who attempted to relieve the besieged British garrison at Kut. Unfortunately the beleaguered force capitulated to Turkish forces in April 1916 before help could arrive. During April 1916 the battalion was engaged in fighting on the river Tigris, and he received an injury to the spine at some time during this month.
He was Mentioned in Dispatches in 1915, and awarded the Military Cross on 2nd February 1916. He died at Roehampton, of wounds received in action at Umm-el-Hannah, on 23rd August 1916.