Henry Garth Roberts was born on 16th October 1896 in Cardiff, Glamorgan.
The 1901 census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Roberts family were living in the civil parish of St. Mary, Cardiff, Glamorgan. Head of the household, David Roberts, age 43, born in Salop, Oswestry, was a Colliery Owner and Builder by trade. He and his wife, Minnie age 35 born in Cherstey, Surrey had six children living at home. They were, Edward Ivor age 12, Minnie O. age 10, David Oswald age 8, Henry Garth age 5, Margaret G age 3 and Herbert V. age 1. There was also a servant living with the family by the name of Elizabeth Williams age 16.
In 1906 the Roberts family emigrated to Canada and set up home in Victoria, Alberta.
The 1916 census for Canada reveals that the family were living at 173 Corn Hill, Victoria, Alberta. Head of the household David Roberts had taken up farming. He and his wife had five children living at home, they were, David age 24, a Soldier by trade, Henry Garth age 20 also a Soldier, Herbert V. age 16 a farmer by trade and there were also two additions to the family since the 1901 census, they were, Walter age 14 and Robert age 11.
Attestation Papers for Private 436142 Henry Garth Roberts from the Library of Canada.
Henry and his brother David enlisted into the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 5th January 1915 in Edmonton Canada. They gave their father David Roberts of 8543, Whyte Ave, E. Edmonton as their next of kin. Henry’s trade was recorded as Miner while that of David was Engineer. Henry gave his date of birth as 16th October 1893 when in fact he was born in 1896. He was described on the medical form as being 5ft 7ins tall with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.
During training in Canada after enlistment Robert became ill with a rheumatic infection and had to be discharged on 15th July 1915 as medically unfit for service.
Attestation Papers (Draft) for Private 436142 Henry Garth Roberts 51st Battalion CEF from the Library of Canada.
On 9th May 1918, Henry was drafted into the Canadian Army and did basic training in Canada before embarking from Quebec for England aboard the S.S.Huntsend on 26th September 1918 and arriving at Davenport on 11th Oct 1918 when he was transferred to 21st Reserve Battalion and posted to Bramshott Camp to complete training.
As it became clear that hostilities were drawing to a close, Henry was transferred to Kinmel Camp in Rhyl to await discharge and repatriation to Canada.
Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection. Sadly Henry Garth Roberts contracted Bronchial Pneumonia,and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital on 21st October 1918 where he died on 30th October 1918.
He is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is also commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Henry’s brother David, regimental number 436143 completed training in Canada in 1915 and embarked for England from Montreal aboard the S.S.Metagama on 11th September 1915 and arrived in England on 20th September 1915 when he was transferred to the 22nd Reserve Battalion C.E.F. and posted to Shorncliffe to complete training.
David was diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis on two occasions and then had his tonsils removed in July 1916 and spent 108 days sick due to this illness.
He served in various Army Camps in the UK and was posted to France in May 1918 where he was gassed on 29th May 1918 and transferred back to England by hospital train and ship and spent 106 days recovering in Brighton General Hospital.
David completed his war service at Seaford Army Camp with the Canadian Engineers Regiment and was discharged to Calgary, Alberta,Canada on 7th February 1919.