CWG: Private Samuel Roberts

Private Samuel Roberts

Samuel Roberts was born in April 1875, one of seven children to William and Harriet Roberts from Bridgwater in Somerset. William worked as a labourer in a timber yard, though sadly he died young, when Samuel was only a child.

In the spring of 1899, Samuel married Rosina (or Rose) James, and the couple went on to have six children. Samuel was supporting his family working as a wicker chair maker, a roaring trade in a part of the county where reed beds were in plentiful supply.

Samuel’s war grave suggests that he enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry, and that this must have been early in the First World War, given that he passed away in October 1914. His pension records paint a slightly muddier picture, however. They give the cause of Private Roberts’ death as Hodgkin’s disease and mania, but suggest that:

As is has not been possible to establish that Private S Roberts actually joined for service or was paid as a soldier during the war, Mrs Roberts’ claim to [a] pension cannot be admitted.

WW1 Pension Ledger: Private Samuel Roberts

Whether Samuel ever enlisted, or whether he only told Rose that he had, or whether, through his mania, he believed that he had, will likely never be uncovered. Either way, what can be established is that he passed away on 19th October 1914, at the age of 39 years old.

He lies at rest in the St John’s Cemetery in his home town of Bridgwater.


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