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Remembered Today:

David (Dai) Roberts, 1st Surrey Rifles


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     i am researching a boxer who died in France in 1917. David 'Dai' Roberts (born 22.6.1892) came from Caerau, near Maesteg in Glamorgan. According to 'Boxing' magazine reports at the time, he was a rifleman in the 1st Surrey Rifles, waiting in March 1917 to go to France. He is said to have won his first bout in France in April 1917 and had two more contests before leaving base for the Front in May 1917. He is then reported as being killed by a shell in June 1917 (although a boxing records website has his death date as July 1). I have been unable to trace any mention of his death anywhere else; not on family history websites, nor in local Welsh newspapers, not even in an extensively researched list of the fallen from the Maesteg area. He had been living in London for around three years prior to going to France, so his record may not mention his Welsh origins. Any info about his service and, particularly, his death would be much appreciated.

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Hi Gareth, and croeso,


It looks as though poor old Dai was killed a little earlier according to the CWGC database, maybe that's why he hasn't appeared in your searches so far:



Rifleman 651420 DAI

Thursday, June 7, 1917


1st/21st Bn. London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles) United Kingdom



It looks as though his service record has survived, although a little charred.

I haven't read it yet, but it is bound to contain useful information:

(Ancestry subscription required)




Edit: Effects to Mr. R. Roberts ( 1917 address- 3 Thorncroft Street, Wandsworth Road, SW8). Medals in 1923 to Mrs. Ann Roberts (Mother), 5 Monkton Street, Brook Street, Kennington, London. Looks as though Mr.R. Roberts is Robert Roberts, Dai's father, (who is deceased by 1923).


Other relatives named as:

Edward Roberts (Brother), 3 Glanavon Terr., Caerau.

4 sisters-

EJ Ayres? F.Jack? & J.Rees? all at 5 Monkton Street, and M. Clarke, 104 Brooke Street, Kennington (Poor handwriting).


Medical examination 15/5/1915,    5' 9"  and 154 lbs (11st 0lb)   Trade : Collier


Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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Dai, that is absolutely brilliant. I hadn't considered the possibility that his parents and siblings might have moved to London as well. And the clincher that confirms we have the right man is the brother - both his address in Caerau and his name, as Ted also boxed professionally. Thanks again - it had been doing my nut in!

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Gareth: I think I saw books by you on Welsh boxers in Swansea Waterstones recently? A herculean feat! Well done! (if it is you 😂)



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The WD of 1/21st Bn London Regiment has a lot of info on the attack at Messines on 7 June 1917. If you have ancestry, it may be worth a look? Although, from what I've read, no mention of Rifleman Roberts.

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