His full name was Robert Henry (Harry) Roberts and was born in Flint on 11th June, 1897 and baptised on 11th July, 1897 at St Mary’s Parish Church. He was the third of four children to Robert Roberts and Margaret (Jones).
Robert was born in Halkyn and Margaret in Llanglan, Caernarvonshire and they were married in the Holywell Registration District in 1891.
Robert was employed as a gas stoker at the Flint Gas and Water Company and they lived at 12, Feathers Street for several years before settling at 8, Feathers Street.
In the 1911 census Harry was living with his maternal aunt, Mary Ann Jones (who became a well known district nurse in the town), at 22, Feathers Street and was still at school but also had a job as an errand boy with a greengrocer. He was later employed as a spinner at the British Glanzstoff Works.
Harry enlisted in Flint and one source gave his address as 5, Holywell Street. He was subsequently posted to France where he was killed in action at Arbre de la Femme on 12th October, 1918, and was buried in St Vaast Communal Cemetery Extension, France (Plot A, Grave 3).
He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and is remembered on three war memorials – Flint Town, St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint and Oddfellows Hall, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
Robert was accidentally killed on 19th January, 1942 and his death was reported in the County Herald four days later.
FATAL ACCIDENT AT FLINT – AGED MAN KILLED IN BLACK-OUT
Mr Robert Roberts, aged 80, of Feathers Street, Flint, died almost immediately from injuries received when knocked down by a motor bus while he was walking along the Flint to Bagillt main road in the black-out on Monday night. There were no passengers on the bus, which was returning to the Flint depot.
The Coroner for Flintshire, Mr Humphrey Llewellyn Jones, formerly opened the inquest at the house on Wednesday morning, and after evidence of identification had been given by deceased’s son, Mr William John Roberts, Henry Taylor Street, the inquiry was adjourned until Tuesday afternoon next.
An old man’s belief that he was still working as a lamp lighter and that it was necessary for him to go out to light the street lamps of Flint, which led to him being involved in a fatal accident, was revealed to the Flintshire Coroner, Mr Humphrey Ll Jones, who held an inquest at the Town Hall, Flint, on Tuesday afternoon into the circumstances of the death of Robert Roberts, aged 80, of 8, Feathers Street, Flint, who was struck and killed by a motor bus on the Holywell Road, Flint, during the black-out on Monday, 19th January.
Crosville Motor Services Ltd were represented by Mr Cecil Bibby Denny, Flint, and trade union officials watched the proceedings in the interest of the driver and conductress of the bus.
Dr M J Quinlan, Flint, said that at 8pm on 19th January he received information of an accident on the Holywell Road at Flint. He proceeded there and saw the body of a man lying on the footpath. It was snowing hard at the time and on examining the body he formed the opinion that a severe and fatal injury had been received. The man was dead and had died from haemorrhage to his lungs caused by a crush injury to his chest.
Edwin Roslyn Lewis, 8, Feathers Street, Flint, steel worker, said that he was a son-in-law of the deceased man and resided with him. Witness was at home at about 6.30pm on Monday week. His wife, mother-in-law and deceased were also present, and the deceased then seemed to be in his usual health. Deceased went out between 6.30pm and 6.45pm when he said he was going to light the lamps.
Continuing, witness said that his father-in-law went out, but came back a few minutes afterwards and sat down in a chair and then went out again, once more saying that he was going to see to the lamps. He again came back, opened the front door, and said that and said that he was going down to the gasworks to tell them that he wasn’t going to light the lamps. As deceased had not returned, witness went out at about 7pm because he was a bit anxious about him. With his wife, witness first went round the buildings to see if they could see him nearby, and then witness went to the gasworks in Holywell Road. They found he had been there and they then went home, but he had not returned and they went out again, when they were informed by a police constable that there had been an accident in Holywell Road. Witness went to the scene of the accident with the officer and found it was his father-in-law who had been involved.
David Emlyn Roberts, Sycamore Cottage, Flint Mountain, bus driver employed by Crosville Motor Services ltd, said that on the night of 19th January said he was driving a motor bus from Trelawny Square, Flint, to the depot in Holywell Road. The weather was bad, it was snowing heavily, and the wind was behind him. Visibility was bad. He was driving on his left side of the road and after passing the gasworks, and going in the direction of the garage, he felt a bump and pulled up immediately to investigate. At first he thought he had hit the kerb as it was difficult to discern it. He got out of his cab and found that the conductress and an employee passenger had already got off the bus. He had to walk back about a bus length and then found a man lying with his head in the gutter and his feet towards the road. They got him on to the pavement. He left the passenger, Mrs MacPherson, there and decided that the quickest way to get help was to go in the bus to the depot and telephone the police. He afterwards returned to the scene of the accident. Previous to the bump he saw nothing of the man.
Miriam Morgan, 6, Riverbank Estate, Bagillt, said she was the conductress on the bus and they were returning to the depot at about 7.45pm. Mrs MacPherson, another Crosville conductress, was a passenger on the bus to the depot and witness was standing up talking to Mrs MacPherson when she felt a bump and was thrown back when the driver pulled up suddenly. Witness got out of the bus and walked behind it where she saw a heap at the side of the road and went to the garage to phone the police. When she got out the deceased was lying by the bus. The bus wasn’t going very fast.
PC Forder said that at 7.50pm on 19th January he was on duty at Flint Police Station when he received information of the accident, and after telephoning Dr Quinlan witness went to the scene. The accident occurred about eighty yards beyond the Aber Works crossing and about one third of a mile from the gasworks.
Witness added that on arriving at the scene of the accident, he found deceased lying on the nearside pavement facing Bagillt. His head was in the direction of Flint and his feet were just level with the kerb. He noticed that deceased’s shoes were off and they were later found by his feet. There were no marks on the road, except some traces of blood from the kerb towards the centre of the road from a distance of four feet four inches, and they were level with the deceased’s head. The road was 21 feet wide, with a kerbed footpath on the near side facing Bagillt and a grass verge on the other side. On examining the bus, witness found that the centre of the radiator guard had been dented and the front identification plate bent inwards.
Replying to Mr Denny, witness said that he could just distinguish between the footpath and the roadway. It was a very bad night and blowing hard, with the snow blowing in the direction of Bagillt. Walking towards Flint the snow would be in the deceased’s face. Witness could not say whether deceased’s shoes had ever been fastened.
Replying to the Coroner, witness said the deceased’s face was bruised, and he also had an injury to the back of his head. Assuming deceased was walking towards the bus, the radiator was about five feet high and deceased was about five feet four inches tall.
The Coroner said the deceased was a man of eighty years of age and he was suffering from the delusion that he was still employed at his old work, as a lamplighter in the employ of the gas company. From Time to time he tried to leave home, having the idea that he was going back to his old work. Unfortunately last week he chose a night on which the weather was at its worst, and for some reason, having left the gasworks, he must have lost his way and was either returning towards his home or walking away from it when he was involved in the accident. The night could not have been worse, for not only was it snowing heavily making visibility for any driver most difficult. “I am satisfied that at the time of the impact the deceased was walking in the carriageway and I am also satisfied that the driver of the bus at the time of the accident was driving his bus in a careful manner and cannot be held responsible for this unfortunate accident. That being so the verdict must be that ‘Deceased died from injuries accidentally sustained,’ and I take this opportunity of expressing my sympathy with the deceased’s family in the bereavement they have sustained.”
Mr Denny said that on behalf of Crosville Motor Services Ltd and the driver of the bus he wished to associate himself with the vote of sympathy.
Obituary: The late Mr Roberts was a native of the Flint district, being a son of the late Mr and Mrs John Roberts, The Hafod Farm, Halkyn. For some years he was employed by Messrs Proctor and Rylands, Saltney, and he walked daily to and from his work. He would rise as early as 3 am in order to reach his work by 6, and at the end of the day he would leave work at 5pm and reach Flint at about 7.30. Afterwards he worked for about thirty years for the old Flint Gas and Water Co Ltd, retiring in 1935, when he was presented with an oak mantel clock. Deceased was a member of the English Congregational Church and was one of the founders of the first church of that denomination in Flint, and he helped to build the old church on the site of the present St John’s English Congregational Church in Church Street. He leaves a widow, one son (Mr W J Roberts) and one daughter (Mrs E R Lewis), with whom much sympathy is felt in their tragic bereavement.
The funeral took place on the 21st January and Robert was buried in the Northop Road cemetery.
Margaret died on 30th March, 1943 and she is buried with her husband in an unmarked grave.
Obituary: The death occurred on Monday morning at her home, 8, Feathers Street, of Mrs Margaret Roberts, wife of the late Mr Robert Roberts, a former lamp lighter at Flint. She was 82 years of age and until she was taken ill seven weeks ago, possessed all her faculties. Mrs Roberts was born at Llanglan, Caernarvonshire and came to Flint about 50 years ago. She was a sister of the late district Nurse Jones, Flint. Her husband died as a result of being struck by a bus in the snow about fourteen months ago. Mrs Roberts was a member of the Parish Church and leaves two children, Mrs Lewis, who lives at her home, and Mr W Roberts, Henry Taylor Street. Her only surviving brother, Mr William Jones, who is 85, lives at Chatham.