Stephen Edward Roberts’ birth was registered in the March Quarter of 1917 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/21A/75) but born on the 19 Dec 1916, probably too late before Christmas to be included in the 1916 records.
He was the son of Hugh & Martha Ann Roberts (nee Bithell) who had married in St. Deniols’ Church, Hawarden on the 13th of June 1914. Hugh, 29, was an Ironworker and his residence was Brook Cottage, Shotton, his father was Joseph Roberts, deceased, it gave no indication of Joseph’s trade or occupation. Martha Ann Bithell, 28, had lived at the Nine Houses, Shotton, and her father William Bithell was a Marine Engineer.
Young Stephen Edward had been named, I believe, after Hugh’s brother Stephen Edward, which, I also believe, showed a love and closeness between the two brothers. Hugh’s son Stephen Edward was to die on the 14th of April 1944, his uncle of the same name was to die in the June Quarter of 1944.
Their closeness was probably because they had lost their father Joseph Roberts, I believe, circa 1893 and they were a family of 6 boys and 1 girl, then their mother Theresa remarried to Thomas Jones, possibly in 1896, and on the 1901 census when they were living in the Nine Houses, they were referred to as step- children, but on the 1911 census, they were living at Chester Road, Shotton, they were referred to as sons and daughter. Theresa on the 1911 census tells us that her occupation was a Midwife (Own Account).
The 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921, after Hugh & Martha Ann were married and two children had been born, the family were living at 9, Ashfield Road, Shotton. Hugh Roberts was head of the household, and he was now 36 years and 5 months old and a Shearer at John Summers & Sons Ltd., Martha Ann Roberts was 35 years and 3 months old and was doing “Home Duties.” Their children, Hugh 6 years and 8 months old and Stephen Edward was 4 years and 6 months old, born in Queensferry and Shotton, respectively.
I have no record of the early life of Stephen Edward the son of Hugh, but he was on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th of September 1939, living still at 9, Ashfield Road, so he hadn’t enlisted or been conscripted by then, the war being declared on the 3rd of September 1939. This source gives us dates of birth. Hugh Roberts had been born on the 28th of January 1885 and was a Steel Worker, Shearer. Martha Ann Roberts had been born on the 12th of March 1886; Stephen E. Roberts had been born on the 19th of December 1916. There were 2 redacted or closed records, so it may be that there were more children born to the couple.
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Transfer In Register states that he was transferred from the General Service Corps (GSC) on the 27th of May 1943 and was transferred on the 30th of March 1944 to the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, his documents regarding his transfer being sent to Ashford on the 6th of June 1944, but sadly by then, Stephen Edward had already been Killed in Action on the 14th of April 1944.
The Casualty List (32) tells us that Stephen Edward was in Burma and had been mentioned on a previous Casualty List No, 1441, but on this one he and 6 other Fusiliers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers are referred to as “Fusiliers” and this was a correction, telling us his Unit and Rank should read: – “4th Bn. Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment – Pte.”
Casualty List 1441 tells us that he was Killed in Action on the 14th of April 1944, along with 7 other R.W.F’s , 3 of whom died on the same day as Stephen, 2 on the 7th and 2 on the 11th of April.
On the Grave Concentration Report (India) (In Folder) on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, Stephen Edward’s Army Number is wrong, (probably a clerical error as it was corrected in pencil). Stephen Edward was reburied on the 18th of August 1944, at Kohima Military Cemetery (Christian), his original grave site was “D.C. Bungalow,” Plot VIII Row E, see above form. Means of Identity – Discs. He lies next to an “Unknown Soldier.”
His family made sure that he would be remembered and put his name forward to be added to the War Memorial and we must make sure their stories are not forgotten, as they all had hopes and dreams and hopes for the future, just as we all do.