Private 13881 James Roberts

Roberts James 96 454x600

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 16th July 1916, age 18.
Buried in Grave V. G. 16. at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France.

8th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 51st Brigade of 17th Division.

Son of James and Mary Ann Roberts, of Tipton, Staffordshire.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 14th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Park Chapel memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/76307/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
13 Court 2 House, Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
James Roberts (30, Slag Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Mary Ann (29, born Dudley Port), and their 4 children: Clara (11, born Dudley Port), Mary Ann (9, born Dudley Port), James Henry (3, born Dudley Port), and Gertie (10 months, born Dudley Port).

1911 Census
11 Coneygree Road, Tipton, Staffs.
James Roberts (41, Pig Iron Weigher, born Tipton), his wife Mary Ann (41, born Tipton), and their 8 surviving children of 10: Clara (21, Boring Brackets, born Tipton), Mary Ann (18, Boring Brackets, born Tipton), James Henry (14, born Tipton), Gerty (12, School, born Tipton), Selina (6, School, born Tipton), Samuel (3, born Tipton), Doris (1, born Tipton), and Horace (4 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

None Available.

Action resulting in his death

The 8th Battalion South Staffs, in 17th (Northern) Division, did not attack on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July, but came into action the next day when they attacked and took Fricourt. This is commemorated in Fricourt by the naming of "Rue du Major Raper" after the senior officer who lead the attack. Following the success of capturing Fricourt, the advance continued slowly northwards towards Contalmaison, with numerous attacks on Quadrangle Support, just south of Contalmaison.

On the 10th July, the 8th South Staffs made the eighth attack on Quadrangle Support. This was at first successful, but they were compelled to withdraw after 3 costly hours due to the lack of progress on their flanks. However, during the evening, the Germans were seen to withdraw and Quadrangle Support was occupied by the 10th Sherwood Foresters, with the weakened South Staffs now in support.

The attack had been costly, with 56 South Staffs men being killed on the day. It is likely that this is the attack where Pte James Roberts received the wounds which would lead to his death on the 16th July at the Stationary Hospitals in Abbeville; he is buried in Abbeville Communal Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Evening Despatch 25th August 1916
Below we give the Midlands names in the casualty list:-
S. STAFFORDS - Roberts, 13881, J., (Tipton).