Roberts, Idris

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Idris Roberts

Second Lieutenant, 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Died of wounds, 3 September 1918, aged 21
Buried at Varennes Military Cemetery, France

CWGC recorded (Mrs JM Roberts of “Bryn Llewelyn”, Penmachno, Betws-y-coed)


Idris Roberts, the son of Walter and Margaret Roberts (née Davies), was born in 1897 at Barry, Glamorganshire. The Census of Wales for 1901 reveals that Walter Roberts was a house joiner and that the family lived at 2 Cardiff Road, Barry and that Idris, at the time, had three brothers and three sisters. Idris attended Codoxton Council School before getting a scholarship to Barry County School in 1911. The Census for that year reveals that the family had been joined by two more boys and that Walter Roberts was employed as a carpenter for a railway company. After he left school, Idris joined the Civil Service.

A contemporary newspaper report states that Idris Roberts joined the “London Welsh” in January 1915 (underage at 17). This might have been the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st London Welsh) Royal Welsh Fusiliers that formed in London in October 1914 or the 18th (Service) Battalion (2nd London Welsh) RWF which formed in London in February 1915. The battalion’s trained at Llandudno and Bangor respectively, the former going to France in December 1915 whilst the latter was converted to a reserve (ie training) battalion in August 1915 with many of its volunteers being sent to front line battalions as reinforcements. Idris Roberts was selected for officer training and on 28 March 1917 was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. A few weeks later on 12 May 1917, Idris married Janet Morgan Jones (b 1888, Penmachno)  in the register office at West Derby, Liverpool. Idris claimed to be 22 years of age though he was actually 20, and Janet claimed to be 23 though she was actually 28. Idris gave his address as “The Huts”, Litherland – Litherland in Liverpool was the base of the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the RWF. When Idris joined the 17th (Service) Battalion RWF in France is presently unknown though it is recorded that he returned to Penmachno, where his wife and child lived with his parents-in-law, on leave in the summer of 1918.

Idris Roberts died of wounds on 3 September 1918 aged 21. The war diary of the 17th RWF reports an engagement near Morfal on 29 August 1918 though casualties were not given. In any event he was buried at Varennes Military Cemetery which was a few miles to the west of Morfal indicating that he may have been evacuated as far as a casualty clearing station (possibly the 59th) but not to a hospital on the coast.

Idris Roberts’ connection with Llandudno is somewhat uncertain. His father died in Barry in 1925 but his mother died in Llandudno in 1933 (as did his sister Beatrice Richmond in 1969). However, since the Llandudno Roll of Honour was printed in 1921, then Idris must have had an earlier but presently unknown connection with the town.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno


Commonwealth War Grave Commission state that Idris Roberts was aged 23 when he died but this is probably based upon the information which he gave when joining up. He seemingly perpetuated this discrepancy when he got married because at the age of 20, he was not of age.

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