Roberts, Owen

By Laura Ashley’s 

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Owen Roberts

205066, Private, 13th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 22 April 1918, aged 23
No known grave (Pozières Memorial, Somme, France)

CWGC registered (Son of John Griffith Roberts, of “Penrose”, 31, Winllan Avenue, Llandudno)

Born in Llandudno on 10 October 1893, Owen Roberts was the son of John Griffith Roberts and his wife Emma (née Owen). In September 1900, Owen was admitted to Lloyd Street School; the family’s address was recorded as Back St. George’s Crescent. The 1901 Census records the family including Owen (7) and his brother, John living at 1 Fern Villa, Back Mostyn Street, Llandudno; John G Roberts was recorded as a council labourer. Emma Roberts died in 1906. In November 1986, Owen was transferred to John Bright School. The following year, John Griffith Roberts married Ellen Owen. The Census of Wales for 1911 records John Griffith Roberts, Ellen Roberts and John Roberts (15) living at “Warberry”, Claremont Road, Llandudno; Owen Roberts (17) was living with his aunt at “Ormes View”, Clifton Road, Llandudno. He worked as an assistant to Mr L A Cocker, chemist, at 68 Mostyn Street.

In November 1914, Owen Roberts joined the Denbighshire Hussars Yeomanry, attesting at Llandudno. His regimental number was 1035. The Denbighshire Hussars was a unit of the Territorial Force which on the outbreak of war was assigned to the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade though it almost immediately split into the 1/1st Denbighshire Hussars for overseas service and the 2/1st for home service. Owen joined the latter, part of the 2/1st Welsh Border Mounted Brigade, serving near Newcastle upon Tyne from January 1915. He was hospitalised in No 1 General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne in July and August 1915. In April 1916, the brigade moved to East Anglia, replacing the 1st line brigade that had been posted to Egypt. It returned to Northumberland in July 1916 at which time it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist brigade. A date unknown, Owen Roberts was promoted to lance corporal (unpaid). In 1917, Owen received a new regimental number of 215071. The passing of the Armed Services Act in 1916 deemed that battalions of the second line Territorial Force could be sent overseas; failing that, individual soldiers could be transferred to other frontline units. As a consequence, Owen Roberts, reverted to the rank of private and disembarked in France on 29 September 1917, destined for No 5 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen. He was posted to the 10th (Service) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers with the new regimental number of 205066. He joined the unit on 9 October 1917. On 28 December 1917, Owen was evacuated by No 7 Field Ambulance and No 43 Casualty Clearing Station (Boisleux) to No 7 Canadian General Hospital at Étaples. He joined No 6 Convalescence Depot at Étaples on 19 February 1918 and No 14 Convalescence Depot at Trouville two days later. On 25 March 1918, he joined C Infantry Base Depot at Rouen and the 13th (Service) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 5 April 1918.

Owen Roberts was killed in action on 22 April 1918 aged 23. The 38th (Welsh) Division had been held in reserve during the early part of the German Spring Offensive until 11 April when it joined the front near Bouzincourt. Elements of the division attacked the German positions on 22 April in an attempt to retake some lost territory. Though partially successful, the attempt was costly. Owen’s body was never knowingly recovered and he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.

Also killed in that action were George Thomas Langford and Corporal William Matthew Hughes (both qv) of the 16th RWF. Owen’s brother John fought with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and survived the war.

Known memorials:

  • Pozières Memorial, Somme, France
  • Ysgol John Bright Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Ebenezer Chapel, Llandudno
  • Family memorial, Great Orme’s Head Cemetery

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