Private 51606 Victor Roderick

Killed in Action on Thursday, 4th October 1917, age 19.
Commemorated on Panel 120 to 124 and 162 to 162A and 163A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

22nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Son of Enoch and Anna Louise Roderick, of 22 Bradley Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 4th August 1917.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/828046/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
The Vine Inn, Gilbert Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Enoch Roderick (25, Public House Manager, born Tipton), his wife Annie L. (27, born Tipton), and their son Victor (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
206 Cross Street, Foleshill, Coventry, Warks.
Enoch Roderick (37, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), his wife Annie Louisa (38, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Victor (12, School, born Tipton), Dora Louisa (9, School, born Tipton), and Hilda (6, School, born Rowley).

Personal Data

Victor enlisted on 8th November 1916 at Wolverhampton, aged 18 years and 120 days, living at 22 Bradley Street, Tipton, and was employed as a clerk. He was 5 feet 5 and a half inches tall with a 33-inch chest, and weighed 118 pounds. During his training, Victor was in court in Tipton charged with being an absentee; on his return he was given 7 days 'Confined to Barracks' and forfeited 7 days pay. After training with the 15th Training Reserve, he landed in France on 4th August 1917, and on 24th August was posted to the 22nd Manchesters (known as the 7th City Battalion) in the 7th Division.

In mid- August, the 7th Division had moved well behind line to rebuild after their losses at Bullecourt in May. The Division received 2,100 new men and Victor joined as one of these reinforcements. The Division moved back into the line just east of Polygon Wood, about 4 miles east of Ypres, on 30th September in preparation for the Battle of Broodseinde Ridge on 4th October.

Victor was missing after the battle and despite enquiries, nothing was ever discovered. As late as February 1919, the Red Cross wrote to his parents saying that despite their best enquires, they had been unable to find any information about Victor's fate. His parents must have been clinging to the hope that he was a Prisoner of War, despite them having heard nothing. The War Office officially assumed him to have been killed on 4th October 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Victor's sister Dora must have been in contact with the Red Cross, as a post card from the Red Cross to her dated 28th February 1919 gives some detail of the day:
'Our reports show that on Oct. 4 1917 the 22 Manchesters took a successful part in the great attack in front of Polygon Wood, east of Ypres. One man says: "On Oct. 4 we were entrenched in shell-holes north west of the Menin Road, and went over to attack about 5 am, our objective being the Broodseinde Ridge (part of the Passchendaele Ridge) which was about 2000 yards from The Mound. It was just about dawn and we could see quite well. The Germans also had planned an attack for the same morning, but we were 1/2 hour ahead of them, so that the shelling on both sides was heavy. We attacked the Ridge, took our objective and held it for 3 days until relieved. There was great difficulty in finding and burying the dead, owing to the very heavy barrage fire during those 3 days."
We hear of casualties from shells when in our own trenches before the attack, and from sniper's bullets during the course of it, and the loss of life was quite considerable.'

After Victor's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/4/6d (1 pound, 4 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Louisa, in October 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Victor had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

The Battle of Broodseinde was the third of Plumer's 'limited objective' offensives aiming to complete the capture the Gheluvelt Plateau and the occupation the Broodseinde Ridge. The 1st South Staffs Regiment led the attack to the first objective at 6am (Tipton losses Griffiths and Gulliver), and then at about 9am the 22nd Manchesters moved through the South Staffs to attack the second objective, the main Broodseinde-Passchendaele road on the ridge line. Both attacks were successful, as was the entire day which inflicted severe casualties on the German defenders.

The 1st South Staffs lost 39 men on the day, and the 22nd Manchesters lost 73 men including Victor Roderick. Victor's body was never found and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 14th April 1917
On Monday at Tipton Police Court (before Mr Joseph Powell), five young soldiers named William Griffin, of Lion Yard, Park Lane; Dan Nicklin, Park Lane West; Walter Bannister, Holland Street; Victor Roderick, Bradley St, Burnt Tree, charged with being an absentees from 13th Training Reserve Battalion at Brocton Camp. The men were arrested by Sergeant Richards, PCs Handy and Clowes. The men were remanded to await an escort. The police stated that in the possession of one of the men was a military pass, which the prisoner admitted was in his handwriting, and he forged the name of an officer. Samuel Aston, of Dog Yard, Park Lane, Tipton, was charged by Sergeant Richards with being an absentee from the 1th Cheshire Regiment, Birkenhead. Remanded to await an escort.

Of the above 5 men, only Victor Roderick was to lose his life.