Roberts, John

There are four J. Roberts named on the  Connah’s Quay / Shotton Memorial.  There were 2 listed on St. Mark’s Church Roll of Honour. This John Roberts from Brook Road /Nine Houses in Shotton is one of 19 from that road to have died in WW1.

John Roberts was the son of Joseph & Theresa Roberts.

The family was recorded on the 1881 census living on the Quay Road, Shotton, (The 3rd house from the Shotton National School).  The mother of this household is actually listed on the census as Frances, which I believe may be an enumerator’s error. Joseph Roberts & Theresa Foulkes had married in 1874 in St. Mary’s Church in Chester (CE14/7/492).  Head of the household, Joseph was 28 and worked as a Labourer in a chemical works. His wife, ‘Frances’ was 24. Their listed children were Thomas 5, John 3 and Joseph 10 months.

By the 1891 census they had moved to the Nine Houses, Shotton, where the family remained for many years. Joseph, 36, was still head of the household, and a farm labourer.  Wife ‘Treasa’  was 34. Their listed children were Thomas, 15 a Labourer,  John, 13, Joseph, 11, William H. 8, Hugh, 6 and Edward, 4.  Annie was  1.

I believe that John’s father Joseph died in 1893 (HAW/24/77). and that Theresa married again in Chester in a Civil Marriage in 1896. Her new husband was  Thomas Jones.(ROC/36/80).

The 1901 census records the new family living at the Nine Houses, (Next to the Grocer’s Shop), Shotton,  . Head of the household was Thomas Jones who was a 46 year old Mariner (seas). His Wife ‘Thersa’ was 44. The listed stepchildren were  Joe Roberts, 20  an Engineer’s Pattern Maker.  Humphrey Roberts, 18 was a Mariner (seas).  Hugh Roberts, 16 was a Labourer in the Dock Yard.  Stephen Roberts, 13  was a Pile Driver BuilD?? (Navvy) and Annie Roberts was 11 years old.   Theresa and Thomas’s children were William Jones, 4 and Ted Jones 3.  John was not listed in this household because he was by then a married man.

The marriage of John Roberts ,and Elizabeth Lumborg had taken place in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden on the 5th September 1898.   On his marriage lines, he stated his father Joseph was deceased.   Both Elizabeth & John’s address was “Nine Houses”, Shotton and they were both 20 years of age.

The 1901 census recorded  John & Elizabeth living in the Nine Houses.  John, 23 was a Labourer in the Ironworks.  Elizabeth, his wife was 21. They had one child,  baby Thomas J. Roberts.  There were 2 boarders, George Aston, a Labourer in the Borax Works  and his wife Martha, J. Aston.

The 1911 census shows the family still in the Nine Houses, Shotton, John Roberts 33, was an Ironworker. His wife of 12 years  ‘Elizabeth’ was 31.  She had given birth to 5 children but one had not survived.  Their  listed children were Thomas John, 10, Rose Mary  8,  ‘Thereasa’  5 and Annie, 10 months.  There were three Visitors listed on the form. They were  Joseph Jones, and, his wife Margaret, and their baby Mary, 1 month old.

John’s Army Pension Records have survived and are accessible on They tell us that he enlisted in Hawarden well before the war on the 5th May 1898, (the year he married Elizabeth). He was 20 years old.  He attended the Annual Camps for the Territorials from 1898 – 1904. He was Private 8310 of the 2nd Bttn Royal Welsh Fusiliers This period of territorial service appears to have ended in December 1904. This period of service meant that he was a reservist when war was declared

John Roberts reenlisted in the 9th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers on the 3rd September, 1914 in Shotton.  The records acknowledge that he had served 7 years in the 2nd Bn R.W.F. previously. There was a description of him on enlistment. It tells us he was 34 and a half years old. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, had a ‘fresh’ complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. His religion was C of E. His occupation was Labourer. His reenlistment was approved at Wrexham on the 5th September 1914 and his new Regimental Number was 13546.

He embarked for France on the 19th July 1915. In November 1917, whilst still in France, he became ill with a condition that was to lead to him being invalided out of the army.

He was eventually discharged in 1918 on health grounds with a diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus.  An Army ‘Board’ met to review his case to determine what pension award might be made. This board received  the details of John’s condition. The symptoms he had  presented with were reported as-

Excessive thirst and appetite first noticed early in November 1917 with loss of weight.   Father, brother and 2 sisters said to have had Diabetes”.

The pensions Board were told that his condition was aggravated by active service and advised that he was permanently unfit.

The records include details about his family. His wife, Elizabeth Roberts was listed as living at Coppack’s Cottages, 9 Houses, Shotton.  Their children were listed as

Thomas John  (born 17th June 1900 Hawarden),  Rose Mary (born 4th August 1902 Hawarden), Theresa (born 18th May 1915 Flint),  Annie (born 6th May 1910 Hawarden) and  Violet (born 23rd April 1913 Hawarden).

(I can provide my detailed notes re his Army Records. Contact me (Mavis) via this website)  

John  died at home the next year on the 4th March 1919.  (There is a possible death certificate for John HAW/12A/16). He was buried in St Deniol’s Churchyard in Hawarden. The top part of the grave stone is almost obliterated, so there are only a few words with which to build a picture of the family. It does include, however,

“In loving memory of Private John Roberts, 9th Bat. R.W.F. Beloved Husband of Elizabeth Roberts, who died of illness contracted on active service in France 4th March 1919 age 41.   Resting in Peace”.

(St. Deniol’s Churchyard -Monumental Inscriptions Volume 11 – Lovelock). – The above is also recorded on the Imperial War Museum – Memorial Project – Hawarden Churchyard. Old part (1860) NW of church. – Description – Gravestone with kerbs.

In the Mold, Deeside and Buckley Leader dated the 3rd October 1924, an article stating that the Congregation of St. Ethelwolds Church was going to erect a Roll of Honour and the names of the Soldiers who had had their names handed in was published and a John Roberts was named there.

He is also remembered on the Hawarden War Memorial, and remembered on the St. Ethelwold’s Church memorial Screen to the left of the Altar. Also on  Connah’s Quay Cenotaph and also may be on the St. Mark’s Church Roll of Honour.    He was well loved.

Sadly he is not commemorated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database.   I will write and see if he can be added at some point, as he probably suffered after his Army Service.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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