ROBERTS, John (Jack) – Gresford War Memorial

Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams

John Roberts is the younger brother of Samuel Roberts* and was born circa 1891 and was baptised in All Saint’s Church, Gresford, on the 23rd August 1891, the son of James & Rebecca Roberts, Gresford.

*Read his story here.

John first appears on the 1901 census when the family were living at Hillock Lane,Gresford, head of the household was James Roberts, 54 a Plasterer’s Labourer who had been born in Denbighshire, (Earlier censuses state Moss, Denbighshire.) and his wife Rebecca, age 44 who had been born in Gresford, the rest of the family had too.   Son Samuel, 13 was a Brickyard Labourer, James, 12, John, 9, Mary, 5 and Thomas, 3 made up the family unit.

Sadly tragedy had struck the family by the 1911 census and this shows Rebecca a widow, age 55, and a Householder, born Hillock Lane, and she tells us that she had been married 31 years and 8 children had been born to her, sadly again, 1 had died.    The census had been, I suspect, filled in by her son James, but his name was crossed out and Rebecca written over it.   I am so glad that Rebecca wrote it out and told us how long she and James had been married and how many children had been born, as it is a boon for family historians.   She had her family around her, Samuel, 23 and a General Labourer, Builder, (Working on own Account for Trade Employer), James, 22 Painter for a Builder, both single.    Thomas, 13 and Grand-daughter Minnie, 9, were both at School.   Jack Roberts, 19 single and a Painter, again for a Builder, was written at the bottom, I believe this is “our” John.

John, 24, was to marry Ellen Davies on the 2nd January 1913 at All Saint’s Church, Gresford, sadly both John & Ellen’s fathers were deceased on the marriage certificate.   Ellen was 21 years old and a spinster and her home was Burton Farm, Rossett.   John’s address was 18, The Nurseries, Gresford, his occupation was “Painter.”

John Roberts in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tells us that he enlisted at Wrexham and died of Wounds, on the 27th August 1918.

John Roberts in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that he died in the 41st Casualty Clearing Station, France and his sole Legatee was his widow Ellen who received £8 17s 11d on the 10th April 1919 and his War Gratuity of £ 17 on the 13th January 1920.

John Roberts in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that he was awarded the Victory & British War Medals and the 15 Star, also that his first Theatre of War was France and he entered it on the 2nd December 1915 but died of wounds on the 27th August 1918.    Nearly making it to the end of the war — so close, bless him.

Rebecca had already suffered the loss of Samuel, a year before in when he was Killed in Action on the 6th November 1917, John’s death was to compound her grief.

Images of the 41st Casualty Clearing Station:-

Ellen must have emigrated to Western Australia, as on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, she gave her address as 27, Wells Street, Bellvue, Western Australia, Australia.   I do not know when she emigrated nor if she remarried after John’s death in 1918.

Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams


History Information

The preparations for the Somme offensive of July 1916 brought a group of casualty clearing stations (the 1st/1st South Midland, 21st, 34th, 45th and Lucknow, section “B”) to Daours. The extension to the communal cemetery was opened and the first burials made in Plots I, II, Row A of Plot III and the Indian plot, between June and November 1916. The Allied advance in the spring of 1917 took the hospitals with it, and no further burials were made in the cemetery until April 1918, when the Germans recovered the ground they had lost. From April to the middle of August 1918, the extension was almost a front line cemetery. In August and September 1918, the casualty clearing stations came forward again (the 5th, 37th, 41st, 53rd, 55th and 61st) but in September, the cemetery was closed. There are now 1,231 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Daours Communal Cemetery Extension. The total includes special memorials to four men of the Chinese labour corps whose graves in White Chateau Cemetery, Cachy, could not be located. The adjoining communal cemetery contains two First World War burials made before the extension was opened. The extension was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Pic by John Davies 19/04/2014

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