Eric Roberts was born circa 1913 according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission citation, with his parent’s and wife’s detail: – Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts; husband of Lily Roberts, of Buckley, Flintshire.
However, although I have traced several ROBERTS families, because the citation does not reveal the name of Eric’s mother, and with the name John Roberts for his father, I have been unable to trace the correct family with complete certainty. I have already travelled down 3 families and still cannot come to any conclusion.
However, I am going to make an assumption that Eric’s parents were John & Minnie Roberts, and they are seen on the 1921 census living at Ivy Cottage, Aston Hill, Hawarden. John Roberts was head of the household, he was 35 years and 6 months old, born in Caerwys and a Plasterer & Slater for William Astbury, Builders & Contractors, Shotton. His wife, Minnie Roberts (nee Weigh) was 30 years and 10 months old, born in Hawarden and doing ‘Home Duties.’ Their 2 sons on this census were Eric Roberts, 6 years, and 4 months old, born in Shotton Lane, Ewloe and Cyril Charles Roberts, 3 years old, born Ewloe Green, Nr. Chester. There was another son, initially written in by John Roberts but then crossed out as he was not there on the night of the 19th of June 1921. The child, John David Roberts was with his grandparents, John & Sarah Elizabeth Weigh, and their daughter Mary Weigh. They were living at Ash Tree Cottage, Aston, Hawarden. Head of the household was John Weigh 35 years and 3 months old, a General Labourer for Hawarden Rural District Council. His wife, Sarah Elizabeth Weigh was 36 years old and doing ’Home Duties.’ Mary Weigh, their daughter was 25 years and 9 months old, doing ‘Home Duties.’ John David Roberts, their Grandson was 7 years and 7 months, all born in the Parish of Hawarden.
I believe that Minnie Roberts (nee Weigh) and Mary Weigh are sisters, as they are seen on the 1901 census living at Ricketty Cottages, next to Aston Hall Farm. Head of the household was John Weigh, 35, and a Coal Miner (Hewer), Sarah Weigh was 35 and Minnie Weigh, 10 and Mary Weigh, 5 made up the household.
I think that I have found the marriage of Eric and Lily, and if it is the right marriage in the Ewloe Methodist Church in 1937, Eric Married Lily Jones, but the details of marriage for that Church are not in the Record Office and therefore I cannot confirm or deny. Any help would be gratefully received.
We see Eric and Lily Roberts living in Holywell on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th of September 11939. They are living at 14, Crosfield Road, Holywell. This source gives us dates of birth, Eric Roberts was born on the 7th of February 1915 and was a Fibre Manufacture Spinner. Lily Roberts was born on the 20th of October 1914 and was doing ‘Unpaid Domestic Duties,’ which is what most married women were described as doing if they didn’t have a job.
On this same Register, I found Eric’s brother, John David Roberts living at Ash Tree Cottage, Aston, living with his aunt Mary Weigh, who had married Edward Weigh. Again, this source gives us their dates of birth. Edward Weigh had been born in October 1895 and was Farming. Mary Weigh had been born on the 26th of September 1895 and was doing ‘Unpaid Domestic Duties. J. David Roberts had been born on the 20th of November 1913 and was a Transport Driver. There are 2 closed or redacted records, but I do not know who they were.
In my research I have found many census records, so I am hoping that I have found the right family for Eric, as he needs for his family story to be seen and appreciated for his sacrifice.
What I do know is according to the Royal Welsh Enlistment Book, Eric enlisted on the 30th of May 1940 and was transferred to the Gloucester Regiment on the 8th of October 1940 along with many other Roberts’ men on the same pages.
We do know that he and his Regiment ended up in Burma and was there during the conquest of Burma.
The 1st Battalion was involved in the retreat from Rangoon during the Japanese conquest of Burma, and the 10th Battalion saw active service in the defeat of Japanese forces during the Burma Campaign 1944–45.
Japanese conquest of Burma
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Campaigns of World War II
The Japanese conquest of Burma was the opening chapter of the Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II, which took place over four years from 1942 to 1945. During the first year of the campaign, the Japanese Army (with aid from Thai Phayap Army and Burmese insurgents) drove British Empire and Chinese forces out of Burma, then began the Japanese occupation of Burma and formed a nominally independent Burmese administrative government.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission History Information
Rangoon War Cemetery was first used as a burial ground immediately following the recapture of Rangoon in May 1945. Later, the Army Graves Service moved in graves from several burial sites in and around Rangoon, including those of the men who died in Rangoon Jail as prisoners of war. There are now 1,381 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 86 of the burials are unidentified and there are special memorials to more than 60 casualties whose graves could not be precisely located. In 1948, the graves of 36 Commonwealth servicemen who died in Rangoon during the First World War were moved into this cemetery, 35 of them from Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery and one from Rangoon (Pazundaung) Town Cemetery. The Rangoon Memorial is located in Taukkyan War Cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Graves Registration Report Form tells us the men on this all died on different days, making me believe that they were not in any skirmish or battle but perhaps as the CWGC History Information above tells us there were men in the Rangoon Jail, but I do not know, just speculation on my part. Any information gratefully received.
The Casualty Forms tell us a little more: –
Casualty List No. 1090 (Page 7). “Previously reported Wounded now, reported Wounded and missing.” 4202106 ROBERTS, Pte. E. (Wounded – 27th of March 1942 (Previous List No. 897) Date not reported.
Casualty List (Page 32) tells us that Eric was wounded on the 27th of March 1942, Eric’s name was among 15 men from the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment who were wounded, 3 of them on the 27th of March 1942.
Casualty List (Page 12) tells us that Eric was “Previously reported Wounded and missing, date not reported, now reported died whilst a Prisoner of War.” (Previous List No. 1090) 28th of October 1942.
If anyone can add to Eric’s story please get in touch with the website, so he will not be forgotten for his sacrifice.
Eric was sadly missed as his name was put forward to be added to the War memorial to be remembered for perpetuity.
“YOUR RIGHTEOUS MANHOOD AND LOVE, SHALL BE IN EVERLASTING REMEMBRANCE”