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Fattyowls

James Roy, Pvt 202382, 5th Scottish Rifles

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Fattyowls

Remembering today James Roy of the 5th Scottish Rifles who died of wounds 100 years ago in the area of Tunnel Trench near Fontaine-les-Croisilles. James was born in Edinburgh in 1889 and was a promising amateur footballer for Penicuik FC where he captained the side to 1911 East of Scotland Junior Cup. He then moved to Broxburn from where he was signed by Everton in December 1913 for £60 rising to £85 if he impressed. He went straight into the reserves and was ever present at left half as they won the Central league in 1914. He continued to turn out for the reserves during the wartime season of 1914-15 but didn't make a first team appearance; he was injured himself when an injury crisis struck during the latter part of the season, which saw Everton with the title in the most dramatic of circustances.

 

James Roy's wartime service is hard to unravel; his service records do not survive but from his war gratuity it would appear he joined up in December 1915, possibly as part of the Derby Scheme. He was photographed in the uniform of the Royal Scots and had number 4358 in that regiment but tranferred to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), possibly to make up losses suffered at High Wood on 20th July 1916. He was private number 1929 before being renumbered as 202382. The man who has the number before James' was killed attacking Hazy Trench between Lesboeufs and Le Transloy on 29th October 1916 so it is possible that James was on the Somme at this time. In April 1917 he is likely to have fought in the Hindenburg line south of Arras and was probably mortally wounded attacking along the forward trench in the Tunnel trench section on 23rd April as his battalion attempted to reach a group of Suffolks cut off by the Germans. The Germans evacuated the area the following day. That is unfortunately all we know, and that is thanks to his family's research, in particular to his grand neice's husband, my friend John Drouot.

 

James has no known grave but could well be in Croisilles-Heninel Road cemetery, or still in the fields around it. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg-d'Amiens along with his brother Robert. who was killed on 23rd March 1918. Their sister would marry a man who also lost a brother, Cecil Warner; he too is remembered on the Arras Memorial. James Roy's name is on Everton's Roll of Honour and his name is read out each Armistice Day during the service we hold in memory of the players who fell.

 

James Roy 1889-1917: Not forgotten.

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Keith Iles

Remembered Always :poppy:

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