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William Roberts


William Roberts was born in 1889 to William and Emma Roberts of 8 Clifton Terrace, Denbigh. William (Snr) was a Railway Guard.

Early Life

William grew up in Denbigh, North Wales. 

Chester College

William attended Chester College, and left in 1902. He went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.), although it is not known at which University. He began his teaching career with Denbighshire Education Authority.

Military Service

His service details show that William first enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as No. 40187 acting Corporal William Roberts, and was then commissioned into the South Wales Borderers 7th Battalion on November 29 1917, as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Lest We Forget

On September 18, the British XII Corps attacked with the 66th and 67th Brigades of the 22nd Division and the Greek Serres Division. The Bulgarian first line of trenches was overrun, and the Serres Division penetrated to the second line. The Bulgarians responded with heavy artillery fire and counter-attacks that recaptured the ground lost. Meanwhile, the British 66th Brigade's 7th Battalion, South Wales Borders came under intense machine gun fire and those that survived these initial attacks tried to break through gaps in the wire which had been laid at the end of the trenches. However, they were picked off by a bullet fire and only handful of men survived.

William was originally reported as missing on the  September 18 1918 and was later declared as killed in action at the Grand Couronne, West of Doiran.

Post Mortem

William is remembered at The DOIRAN MEMORIAL which stands roughly in the centre of the line occupied for two years by the Allies in Macedonia, but close to the western end, which was held by Commonwealth forces. It is situated in the north of Greece close to the Macedonia border and near the south-east shore of Lake Doiran.  It marks the scene of the fierce fighting of 1917-1918, which caused the majority of the Commonwealth battle casualties. The memorial serves the dual purpose of Battle Memorial of the British Salonika Force (for which a large sum of money was subscribed by the officers and men of that force), and place of commemoration for more than 2,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in Macedonia and whose graves are not known. 

The cemetery (originally known as Colonial Hill Cemetery No.2) was formed at the end of 1916 as a cemetery for the Doiran front. The graves are almost entirely those of officers and men of the 22nd and 26th Divisions and largely reflect the fighting of April and May 1917 (the attacks on the Petit-Couronne), and 18-19 September 1918 (the attacks on Pip Ridge and the Grand-Couronne). In October and November 1918, after the final advance, a few burials took place from the 25th Casualty Clearing Station. After the Armistice, graves were brought into the cemetery from the battlefields and from by some small burial grounds, the most important of which was Strumnitza British Military Cemetery, north-west of Doiran, made by the 40th Casualty Clearing Station in October and November 1918. 

William was entitled to the British War medal and the Victory medal for his service to King and Country. He did not earn the 1914-15 Star medal as his Regiment was not involved in France in those years.