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Remembered Today:

Arthur Roberts KOSB


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Thought I'd have a quick look for this man featured in this BBC news piece.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-57397584 

 

The only Arthurs Roberts I can find in KOSB was killed in 1915 number 12101 6th Btn. 

 

AR.JPG

Edited by Alan24
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  • Alan24 changed the title to Arthur Roberts KOSB
corisande

There is a write up on British Legion site that suggests he was with 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers

 

There is a sketchy Ancestry tree that is probably him that suggests his name was Arthur William David Roberts (and that ties up with a ScotlandsPeople death in 1982)

 

And there is  good summary of his life on this link - click

 

And starts with (I have not verified this)

Private Arthur William David Roberts, King's Own Scottish Borderers, Royal Scots Fusiliers and Labour Corps, born on 28 April 1897 at 36 Coronation Road, Bedminster, Bristol, was the only son of David Roberts, a Ship's Steward, and Laura Roberts, of Stillhouse Lane, Bristol. His sibling was Marjory.Early in 1900 the family moved to Glasgow. Arthur seems to have come to Glasgow with his father and lived alone in a hostel on Clydeside at the age of 14.

 

The problem seems to be in trying to tie the diary to what can be proven from records. There was a thread on this a while back

 

In this thread @kenf48 wrote

 

In 'trying to fill in the blanks of his life' after a rudimentary search I can only find one Arthur Roberts in the mic on A****y. He was in the 6th KOSB and was kia on 25/9/1915, so not him. Anyway why let something as trivial as evidence get in the way of a good story of yet another 'newly discovered' WW1 diary of dubious provenance

Edited by corisande
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21 minutes ago, corisande said:

There is a sketchy Ancestry tree that is probably him that suggests his name was Arthur William David Roberts (and that ties up with a ScotlandsPeople death in 1982)

Thanks.

I found the Ancestry Tree, but there wasn't anything to conclusive (e.g. father's place of birth) to confirm this is the same man, although this now cross checks with the other links you have given.  

 

I'll have a better look at all these once the working day is finished.

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...and ten years on I promise not to be so grumpy!

and maybe have another look

 

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corisande

The problem is the provenence of the diaries. Bluntly are they contemporary accounts or not, and this question does not really seem to have addressed

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corisande
7 minutes ago, kenf48 said:

..and ten years on I promise not to be so grumpy!

and maybe have another look

 Shades of Ollie Robinson :)

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corisande
22 hours ago, Alan24 said:

there wasn't anything to conclusive (e.g. father's place of birth) to confirm this is the same man,

 

It seems to be the same man through. You could get the certs to prove it. But that is not addressing his WW1 service, and can we prove that the dairies really are what happened to him

 

I have not worked out what is going on with surnames, but Laura Dann married David Roberts Jenkins in 1894, But Arthur was born Arthur William David Roberts in 1897. I think one needs Birth Cert to be sure of his parents

 

1. Born Jun 1897   Roberts Arthur William D  Bedminster 5c 618

 

2. Married in Blackpool in 1956 to Jessie  in

Marriages Sep 1956 
ROBERTS  Arthur W D  Finnigan  Blackpool  10b 1026  

 

3. Died 1982 on Scotlands People . ROBERTS, ARTHUR WILLIAM

age 84

mothers maiden name DANN

died 1982

605/ 48 . Glasgow, Martha St

 

 

Edited by corisande
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His diary found in a Glasgow attic. His diary entries, range from 19 May 1917 until 6 March 1918, chronicle his life during that period . Some entries were written while he was sitting in the trenches.

 

This [long] post is to try to sort out the facts and the sources of the period covered by the diary. Because, as is noted in the article below from English Heritage, the diary offers little in the way of fact/people that could be used to cross-check

 

English Heritage writes "At the outset Roberts tells us that he intends to be frank and is writing a book of facts. But this is not a book about others. Throughout Arthur barely mentions anyone else by name, even members of his family. What others thought, how they acted and their impact on Arthur is missing from the diary and the longer narrative.

 

There was a biography written in 2014 "As Good as any man" which I have not read

So what is known about his WW1 record?

 

1915 Feb Enlisted in KSOB  (BBC)

1916 Jan Transfers to Labour Corps as Private 411237 Labour Corps 883 AE Company (IWM Lives of WW1)

1917 Mar enlisted in KOSB  "The Great War: The People's Story by Isobel Charman"

1917 Feb - Jun with KOSB ("As good as any man")

1917 May 19 Arrives in France in Diary

1917 Jun 3 ordered to move to the front at Ypres as part of a co-ordinated attack at Messines Ridge,

1917 Jun 5 He arrives at the front

1917 Jun   Private 41180 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers ("As good as any man")

1917 Jul 31 , he writes going over the top at Pilckem Ridge was "a terrible, yet wonderful" experience.

Over the following four months Arthur was at the front line three times, at Pilckem Ridge, Neuve-Église and finally Kemmel.

1917, Sep 2 he writes in his diary : "We were shelled to blazes. I had a very narrow shave.

1917 Oct in hospital with Trench Foot  (The Great War: The People's Story by Isobel Charman)

1917 Nov 1 Arthur was granted a permanent role at base due to a prolonged injury to his foot.

1918 Mar 6 end of Diary

1919 Dec 5 Discharged ("As good as any man")

 

In an old thread @PPCLI wrote and tried to bracket Roberts with surrounding soldiers deatils, in view of the lack of details on Roberts

I have a large WW1 KOSB database and my files show a lot of transfers between lowland Scots regiments beginning post-July 1916. Large reinforcement drafts arrived at the Infantry Base Depot and were re-badged to other lowland Scots units, quite often HLI and RSF. All these regiments were administered via the Hamilton Records Office.

Having read the Bristol newspaper piece which states, 'Private Roberts served in France and Belgium with the KOSB and also the Scottish Fusiliers', I would say that his MIC is:

Private Arthur W Roberts, 41180, Royal Scots Fusiliers; 411237, Labour Corps

'The diary entries, which range from May 19, 1917, until March 6, 1918, chronicle his life during the conflict.'

Pretty sure that Private Arthur W Roberts, 41180, Royal Scots Fusiliers is the correct soldier.

 

This is a map from his diary that shows where he was deployed in Jun 1917. I am not enough of an expert on maps to comment on this map

map-roberts.JPG.aa1a29028f3f53120cb405e1dd58f9cf.JPG

 

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So all I can find in the ecors about him  is a Pair Roll entry that says

 

pair-roberts.JPG.e9763ed43ec66237b5744c94ae48c5cf.JPG

 

I can find nothing in the recors to link him to KOSB. His movements prior to May 1917, when the diary starts are not findable (to me)

 

So he appears to have gone to France with the Labour Corps, then transferred to Royal Scots Fusiliers by Jun 1917, and stayed with Scots Fusiliers for the rest of his service

 

These are the only 2 photos of him (that I can find). I hope @FROGSMILE can identify the regiment.

 

roberts-photo-3.JPG.c1402e344e60905c17826168212f310a.JPG  roberts-photo-2.JPG.e90e7fdb4aa9fa13a3f9c3346eb56608.JPG

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The first photo in glengarry cap looks like King’s Own Scottish Borderers.  The second photo in Tam-o-shanter is definitely Royal Scots Fusiliers.  Both regiments were of the lowland category and, although serving in several Divisions over the course of the war, were perhaps most famously associated with the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division.  It seems entirely likely that he changed regiments within the auspices of lowland influence at a relevant infantry base depot, or previous Training Reserve formation.

3D2DA3CF-BCEF-45FD-824A-DC7C577F686B.jpeg

ED1C2C7F-6D6E-456D-A929-D7F64684BA96.jpeg

0FA5D0CE-CFFA-47D2-B0D6-DEB745EC5988.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thank you FROGSMILE . So there is something to tie him to KOSB

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Just now, corisande said:

Thank you FROGSMILE . So there is something to tie him to KOSB

Yes I think that the first image is definitely KOSB, albeit that the viewpoint is from an oblique angle. 

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4 hours ago, corisande said:

 

pair-roberts.JPG.e9763ed43ec66237b5744c94ae48c5cf.JPG

 

So he appears to have gone to France with the Labour Corps, then transferred to Royal Scots Fusiliers by Jun 1917, and stayed with Scots Fusiliers for the rest of his service  

 

The medal roll above shows that his service in the LC came after his RSF service. This would be normal for a man having been injured and no longer A1 fit. 

 

A soldier will be shown on the roll of the regiment or corps that he last served with, the above is a roll prepared by the Labour Corps, thus it was his last or current allocation when the roll was prepared. 

 

The roll will also show the unit and service number that the soldier had when he first entered the theatre of war, in this case 41180 of the RSF and any other units/number between the first and last. His medals (VM & BWM) will be named to his first unit and number on the roll i.e. 41180 RSF. 

 

As we all know, the roll or MIC will not show any units he may have been with on home service prior to first deployment overseas.

 

I also understand that the roll or mic does not sow any units he may have been transferred to after 11.11.18. - but happy to be corrected on this?

 

I suspect that he was transferred from KOSB to RSF immediately before being sent overseas, whilst still in England (or Scotland). 

 

I have relative who was transferred from one battalion to another the day before his '4 days going overseas leave' then within the week of arrival in France was transferred to another regiment. This means that the photo I have of him, taken in his home town, can be dated to a four day period in 1917 by the cap badge he's wearing. 

(just in case of interest 2/6th East Surrey > 13th East Surrey > 4th Beds  - the 2 ESR battalions having different cap badges).

 

I wonder also if Arthurs's RSF photo could also be tied down to a very narrow window i.e. his 4 day leave period?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Alan24
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He is certainly typically dressed in the first photo (i.e. with glengarry, 08 web belt and swagger stick), as a soldier on home service, and his generally more youthful appearance suggests an early photo.  In the 2nd photo he appears to my eyes more imbued with the effects of military training. The damage to a foot (probably a result of ‘immersion foot’) and a permanent assignment to the base, seems convincing for a move to the Labour Corps, and I imagine that he was probably allocated to the HQ Details, who basically ran the infrastructure at the large camps within the base area near the coast. All the HQ Details men (if permanent due to disability) were absorbed by the Labour Corps upon its formation.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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7 hours ago, corisande said:

So all I can find in the ecors about him  is a Pair Roll entry that says

 

pair-roberts.JPG.e9763ed43ec66237b5744c94ae48c5cf.JPG

 

I can find nothing in the recors to link him to KOSB. His movements prior to May 1917, when the diary starts are not findable (to me)

 

So he appears to have gone to France with the Labour Corps, then transferred to Royal Scots Fusiliers by Jun 1917, and stayed with Scots Fusiliers for the rest of his service

 

These are the only 2 photos of him (that I can find). I hope @FROGSMILE can identify the regiment.

 

roberts-photo-3.JPG.c1402e344e60905c17826168212f310a.JPG  roberts-photo-2.JPG.e90e7fdb4aa9fa13a3f9c3346eb56608.JPG

This is an intriguing research.

My immediate and amateur reaction is to compare the 2 photographs.

I don't think they are the same person.

From their faces; one is longer and leaner, while the other is more rounded. They do not strike me as the same.

Just my 2p.

Tom.

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1 hour ago, Tom Lang said:

This is an intriguing research.

My immediate and amateur reaction is to compare the 2 photographs.

I don't think they are the same person.

From their faces; one is longer and leaner, while the other is more rounded. They do not strike me as the same.

Just my 2p.

Tom.

Personally I’m confident that they are the same man.  As I mentioned above, in the earlier photo he still has the look of a callow and more slender ingenue, but the facial features are all there. In the later photo he’s filled out with regular army rations and the physicality of his infantry training.  The time between one cap badge and another bears the time necessary to achieve that out.

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On 09/06/2021 at 17:09, corisande said:

The problem is the provenence of the diaries. Bluntly are they contemporary accounts or not, and this question does not really seem to have addressed

 

I tend to agree, however to add to your timeline:-

 

There is a service record extant of Pte 41184 Henry Cunningham.  He was a conscript whose call up and service in the KOSB reckons from the 16th February  1917.  His KOSB number was 28411.  He was posted to the 3rd Bn from the Depot on the 21st February 1917.

 

He  deployed to France on the 20th May 1917 joining  21 Infantry Base Depot the. following day.

 

At the IBD he was posted and renumbered to the 2nd Bn RSF on the 2nd June 1917, joining them in the field on the 7th June 1917.  The war diary mentions a number of officers joining that day but not the draft of other ranks.

Pte Cunningham was kia on 24th June 1918.

 


Pte 411238 Randall, formerly Middlesex Regiment, posted to Labour Corps  and allocated his new number at the LC Base 22.12.1917

 

So Pte Roberts served in F & F with the RSF as shown on the Roll from 7th June 1917, and his diary would seem to accord with Cunningham's  known dates of call up and draft.  Posted to the Labour Corps December 1917

 

 

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Helpfully, the RSF medal roll is in service number order rather than alphabetically by name.

Only a couple of men in that group are shown to have served in France with KOSB which makes me think that the majority of transfers took place in the UK. 

I believe the photo of him wearing the Tam-o-Shanter was taken just before being sent overseas which would support that.

 

I think it's safe to say here fought at 3rd Ypres with 2nd Battalion R Scots. Fus.

 

"1916 Jan Transfers to Labour Corps as Private 411237 Labour Corps 883 AE Company (IWM Lives of WW1"

 

The above makes more sense in the time line if it were "1918 Jan..." I wonder if the original transcriber mis-read the 8 for a 6, especially as Ken, above has recorded "Pte 411238 Randall, formerly Middlesex Regiment, posted to Labour Corps  and allocated his new number at the LC Base 22.12.1917". 

 

scots 2.JPG

scots 1.JPG

Edited by Alan24
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That is a nice way of looking at the problem. So I can alter the time line to be. We still do not have a service no for him in KOSB. Taken me a while to get to this, but so much "research" these days is unchecked cut and paste that can have endless copies

 

1917 Feb - May with KOSB from his first enlisting  ("As good as any man"). We do not have a service number for him in KOSB

1917 May 19 Arrives in France in Diary. He appears to have transferred to RSF before landing in France.  Private 41180 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers ("As good as any man")

1917 Jun 3 ordered to move to the front at Ypres as part of a co-ordinated attack at Messines Ridge,

1917 Jun 5 He arrives at the front

1917 Jul 31 , he writes going over the top at Pilckem Ridge was "a terrible, yet wonderful" experience.

Over the following four months Arthur was at the front line three times, at Pilckem Ridge, Neuve-Église and finally Kemmel.

1917, Sep 2 he writes in his diary : "We were shelled to blazes. I had a very narrow shave.

1917 Oct in hospital with Trench Foot  (The Great War: The People's Story by Isobel Charman)

1917 Nov 1 Arthur was granted a permanent role at base due to a prolonged injury to his foot.

1918 Jan Transfers to Labour Corps as Private 411237 Labour Corps 883 AE Company

1918 Mar 6 end of Diary

1919 Dec 5 Discharged ("As good as any man")

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I have found a new photo of Arthur Roberts which seems to be in "Victoria Cross holder Johnson Beharry on why Arthur Roberts is his Black History Month hero"

 

Hopefully @FROGSMILE will be able to glean more on Roberts from this photo

 

roberts.jpg.3c51f7daed1ca334c66f84ca6508c200.jpg

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4 minutes ago, corisande said:

I have found a new photo of Arthur Roberts

 

That throws a spanner in the works. 3 Overseas stripes...our time line only has him in France in 1917

 

1917 May 19 Arrives in France in Diary. He appears to have transferred to RSF before landing in France.  Private 41180 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers ("As good as any man")

1917 Nov 1 Arthur was granted a permanent role at base due to a prolonged injury to his foot.

 

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Three chevrons is possible with that time line, if he was in France until May 1919
 

Craig

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Yes, he is an enigma !

 

It is (virtually) impossible to cross check most of his life. I am trying to  separate his military life from the rest

 

If he was discharged in Dec 1919, then what do the overseas stripes imply is the latest month he could have been posted abroad?

 

[edit] thanks Craig, you added thaat while I was typing. The balance of probability is that he was still in France in May 1919 ( I need to check that) [/edit}

Edited by corisande
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2 minutes ago, corisande said:

Yes, he is an enigma !

 

It is (virtually) impossible to cross check most of his life. I am trying to  separate his military life from the rest

 

If he was discharged in Dec 1919, then what do the overseas stripes imply is the latest month he could have been posted abroad?

 

If he went overseas May 1917, then May 1918 and May 1919 would be the dates for ordinarily qualifying for each chevron.


Craig

 

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