Until settling in Hope , the family seemed to have had a very transient life! Llewellyn’s father David was born in Rhyl in 1853, and his mother Maria (nee Cook), was born in 1865 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. In 1871 & 1881 David was living in Liverpool, while Maria was still in her home town of Cheltenham. Following their marriage in St Mary’s Church Paddington on 12th September 1891, they had their first two children – Gladys Lydia Sarah b.1892 and Llewellyn David in 1893, both born in Kilburn, North London. David was involved in the printing industry and Maria was a school teacher.
The first time we see Llewellyn in the Census is in 1901 when the family were living in Etherley Road Tottenham, North London. Llewellyn was 7 years old, and his sister Gladys was 8. David was still involved in the printing industry with his occupation declared as ‘Printers Ink Traveller’. There was no occupation listed for Maria at this time.
By 1905 the family had moved to Hope as their third child, Olwen was born there, followed by Gwennole a year later. Llewellyn’s mother Maria became a teacher in the newly opened Hope C.P. School in 1906. She was a Certified Mistress in charge of the infants’ department. When the school opened on 24th April 1906, Llewellyn & his sister Gladys were among the first 30 pupils to enrol. At that time they were living at 2, Station Road, Caergwrle.
In 1911, the family were not together on the night of the census. Maria, and the three girls were all together in Hope. Maria’s occupation was ‘Council School Teacher’. Gladys was then 18, but there was no occupation listed for her. The two youngest girls were 6 and 5 years old.
David & Llewellyn meanwhile were boarding in 7, Anson Street, Liverpool. David was a printer, and Llewellyn who was 17, was a ‘Confectioners Clerk’.
We know that Llewellyn volunteered into the army in about 1914, from his obituary in the County Herald on 17th June 1916 . He enlisted in Wrexham into the 13th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers – Private 15867. His Battalion was part of the 38th (Welsh) Division, which was formed of volunteer units. He trained with the Pals Battalion of the RWF in Rhyl and Llandudno & from there he went to Winchester. From his medal card we know he arrived in Le Havre, France on 1st December 1915.
On 31st May 1916, he received wounds to his chest, but was able to write to his mother and hopes were that he would recover. He died from his wounds on 5th June 1916 – though some documentation says 6th June.
His mother Maria was still teaching at Hope C.P. School, and it was recorded on 12th June 1916 in the school diary that “Mrs Roberts, Infants’ Mistress, is away from school today. It has been reported to her that her only son Llewellyn (an old boy of this school) has died from wounds received on active service in France”
His full obituary in the County Herald of 17th June, 1916 reads:
“CAERGWRLE BOY FALLS IN ACTION – News has been received of the death from wounds of Llewellyn David Roberts, only son of Mr & Mrs Roberts, of 1 Hawarden Road, Hope Village. He was one of the first to volunteer at the outbreak of war, and after training with the Pals Battalion of the RWF at Rhyl and Llandudno, he went to Winchester, and left for the front early last December. He was wounded in the chest on May 31st, but as he was afterwards able to write to his mother, hopes were entertained that he would recover. However, the sad news came of his sudden death on June 6th. he is buried in consecrated ground in a cemetery ‘somewhere in France’. He was 22 years of age. he was a young man of excellent character, and very popular with all for his frank generous nature, and his open and healthy mind. His letters home were always unusually interesting and cheerful, with never a grumble. Grumbling he left to those who had no grievance. Much sympathy is felt with the family in the loss of their one and only son.”
In the same paper above the obituary under the heading of “Roll of Honour, Killed in Action” it reads : “Roberts – In fond memory of Llew. David Roberts, the only and dearly loved son of David and Maria Roberts, of 1, Hawarden Road, Hope Village (Caergwrle), who gave his life for his country somewhere in France, June 6th, 1916.
” Steel true and blade straight.”
Llewellyn was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the ’15 Star. On his medal card the date of his death is given as 5th June 1916.
He is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, Grave VI.Q.59. His headstone inscription reads: “I am still near watching smiles I prized on earth.”