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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Rifleman Sidney Roberts


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I am researching the life and death of Rifleman Sidney Roberts, of The Queen's Westminster Rifles, part of the 56th London Division. Sidney died from his wounds on August 17, 1917, when, I believe, his regiment was involved in a key phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. I believe Sidney was fatally wounded between August 14 and 16, 1917 as attacks were mounted on German defences in Glencorse and Polygone Woods, near Ypres. Little is known about Sidney's war service. His medal card does not record when he went to France and Flanders. It only lists two medals he won - the Victory and British - and 16 London Regiment service number (553492). Before joining the Queen's Westminster Rifles, he served with the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment for which his service number was 7122.He enlisted in the army at Tiverton and he is buried at the Brandhoek New Military Cemetery (no.3) in Belgium. I believe Sidney was one of more than 20 grandsons of John Roberts, of Witheridge to serve in the Great War. I believe Sidney was born in Washford Pyne in Devon and was one of eight children of Charles and Eliza Ellen Roberts. Born in about 1890, he lived in Cruwys Morchard and Washfield and later worked at the George Hotel in South Molton. His brother, Archibald, served in the 13th Hussars. I cannot be absolutely sure of this because Sidney's name does not appear on the war memorial in Washford Pyne or, I believe, any other war memorial in Devon or elsewhere. I don't know how a young man from rural Devon would end up serving in a West Kent regiment or with the Westminster Rifles. Perhaps it was through working at the George Hotel which was owned by a man with London connections. The exploits of the Westminster Rifles are brilliantly described in Major J Q Henriques in his book The War History of the 1st Battalion Queen's Westminster Rifles, 1914-18. I am now trying to confirm details about Sidney to try and get his name added to the Washford Pyne War Memorial (or the one at Cruwys Morchard) in Devon to ensure he is not forgotten. Would anyone know more about the 16 London Regiment and their movements in August 1917? Maybe there is someone out there who is researching Sidney or his regiment who could help. I would be very grateful for any information. Please forgive me if there are any errors in the above. Sidney has been a difficult man to research.

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As you haven't mentioned them - have you looked at the battalion's war diaries here?

You may need to name the topic more specifically - Queen's Westminsters etc..


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