The 1901 census sees the family living at Broad Oak Cottages, Mold Road, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire.(4 Rooms). The Head of the family was John Roberts, 32 a ‘Waggoner’ on a Farm. He had been born in Northop, Flintshire and was bilingual. His wife was Mary 32 who also hailed from Northop. John David was the second youngest and the only son. He was 4 and had been born in Wrexham. His sister Edith M. was 5, (she was the sister who signed his Flintshire WW1 Index card). The other sisters were Rhoda L. 9, Sarah E. 7 and G(w)ladys M. 2. Apart from John David and G(w)lays M the children were bilingual.
By 1911 the family had moved to Rockcliffe Lane, Kelsterton, in the Parish of Northop, Flintshire. John Roberts was 42 and a ‘Gas Producer Attendant’. Mary his wife of 23 years was 42. There had been 7 children born to them and all survived. Sarah Ellen 18, Edith May 15, John David was 14 and listed as a Gardener (Domestic), Gwladys Mary 12 was still at school. A very new arrival was Gwendolen Muriel had been born in Northop and was 9 months old.
There is an index card for John David in the Flintshire Roll Of Honour at the County Record Office. (Flintshire WW1 Index Cards F 33 Shotton) It confirms the regimental details above and the address given was 73, Chester Road East, Shotton. It adds that he served for 6 months and says that he was killed in his first hour in the trenches. The card was signed on the 8th January 1921 by Edith M Roberts his Sister (Edith had written the whole card)
“Soldiers Died in the Great War. Royal Welsh Fusiliers Volume 28” confirms the regimental details above and adds that he enlisted in Shotton and that he was ‘killed in action’.
John David’s Service records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk
The records tell us that he attested on 9th November 1915 at Kinmel Park. He was 5 feet 91/4 inches tall and weighed 147 lbs. His chest measured 35 inches with a range of expansion of 2 inches.His physical development was very good. But the poor lad had ‘acne spots on face’.
The records tell us he was C of E and that his Next of kin was Mr John Roberts, his father who lived at Fairfield Cottage, Chester Road Shotton.
He was made a Lance Corporal (unpaid) on the 8th January 1916. He embarked for France on the 17th February 1916 and joined his regiment at Etaples the next day. He was allocated to the 9th Bn on 27th March 1916 and joined them at the front on 28th March 1916 and was killed in action 3 days later.
There is correspondence between the army and his mother Mrs M Roberts regarding his medals, his possessions and a commemorative plaque and scroll.
A relatives form completed for the army in 1919 says that John David’s father had died. His mother was Mary Roberts still at Chester Road Shotton. His three sisters were listed – Rhoda Lloyd 29 and Sarah Ellen 27 were both at Plas Bellin Hall Northop. Gladys Mary 21 was at St Anne Marine Drive Prestatyn.
John David Roberts in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his mother Mary who was paid £2 on the 27th June 1916 and his War Gratuity of £3 on the 1st September 1919.
I have more information i.e censuses and marriage information of the family if you would like to get in touch, via the website.