Private 5783 Emmanuel Roberts

Roberts Emmanuel 96 399x600Roberts Emmanuel 96 429x600
Photograph courtesy of Kevin Page.

Died Home on Saturday, 26th June 1915, age 34.
Buried in Grave Z. 7099. at West Bromwich Cemetery, West Bromwich, Staffs, United Kingdom.

'D' Company of 2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Son of George and Ann Roberts; husband of Mary Roberts, of 44, Church St., West Bromwich. Born at Tipton.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Unknown, Resident: West Bromwich.

First landed France & Flanders, 11th September 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/395611/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
50 Wood Street, Tipton, Staffs.
George Roberts (52, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Ann (49, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Sarah J. (21, Domestic, born Tipton), James (14, Taking Out Coal, born Tipton), Florence (12, Scholar, born Tipton), and Emmanuel (9, Scholar, born Tipton).

1901 Census
22 Wood Street, Tipton, Staffs.
George Roberts (62, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (54, born Sedgley), and three of Elizabeth's children by her previous marriage.
There was no sign of Emmanuel on the 1901 Census, he had joined the Army in 1899 and was serving in South Africa.

Married Mary Worthington in 20th February 1909 at Christ Church, West Bromwich; daughter Nellie born 30th May 1909.

1911 Census
44 Church Road, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Emmanuel Roberts (29, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Mary (30, born West Bromwich), and their 2 children: Nellie (1, born West Bromwich), and Annie (1 month, born West Bromwich). Also their adopted son Harry Worthington (7, School, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

Emmanuel attested at Wednesbury with the South Staffs on 29th November 1899, signing on for 7 years with the Colours and 5 in the Reserves. He was 18 years and 4 months of age, single, Church of England, and employed as a collier. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall with a 36-inch chest, weighed 132 pounds, had light complexion, light coloured hair and blue eyes.

Emmanuel was posted to the 1st Battalion South Staffs, and saw service in South Africa from 1900 to 1902. In August 1901, for an unstated offence, Emmanuel was put 'In Confinement' for 16 days, and then tried by Field Court Martial on 13th September 1901 for 'conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline'. He was found guilty and sentenced to '6 months I.N.L.' (acronym not recognised). His period of service, and hence pension entitlement, was reduced by this period of 6 months.

In October 1902, Emmanuel was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, South Staffs and served in India during which time he extended to service from 7 years to 8 years. In contrast with his time in the 1st Battalion, he now received 2 Good Conduct badges. His time with the Regular Army ended in November 1907, and he transferred to the Reserves. He extended his service with the Reserves from 1911.

Emmanuel's widow, Mary, received his War Gratuity in November 1919, this amounted to £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly).

Action resulting in his death

As a Reservist, Emmanuel was re-called on 5th August 1914 and attached to the 2nd Battalion, arriving in France as a reinforcement on 11th September 1914 - an Old Contemptible. Even though this was just a month after the 2nd South Staffs had first arrived, it was sufficient for Emmanuel to miss the battles of Mons, Marne and Aisne, but in time to see action at the first Battle of Ypres, including the actions at Langemarck, Gheluvelt and Nonne Bosschen.

Emmanuel was invalided out of France on 2nd December 1914 to a UK hospital. At a Medical Board at Fort Stamford, Plymouth on 16th January 1915, Emmanuel was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Disease - a faulty heart valve, and was recommended for discharge as 'Permanently unfit for service'. He left hospital on 23rd January 1915 and was allocated to the 3rd Battalion, and was discharged from the Army on 25th January 1915. Just five months later, on 26th June 1915, Emmanuel died at home, and was buried in West Bromwich Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

West Bromwich Free Press 2nd July 1915
Copy of article not yet acquired.