Benjamin Anderson Roberts

Rank Rifleman
Service No 6197
Date of Death 14/09/1914
Age 28
Service/Regiment King's Royal Rifles Corps 2nd Battalion.
Memorial La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial. La Ferte-sous-Jouarre is a small town 66 kms east of Paris. The memorial commemorates 3,740 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who fell at the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne and the Aisne between the end of August and early October 1914 and have no known graves.

 

Benjamin was born on 6th September 1886 in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. He was the eldest child of Benjamin Roberts (b.1861), a watch repairer, and his wife Cassandra, nee Bays (1864-1912). He had eight siblings, two of whom died in childhood: Angelina (b.1888), Hebert (b.1889), Mary (b.1891), Elizabeth (b.1893), Dorothy (b.1895), Robert (b.1898), Nelly (b.1899) and Herbert (b.1900). Benjamin and Angelina spent their early years living with other relatives and only appear to have returned to their parents’ house when their father was promoted to watch maker.

In 1901, aged 14, Benjamin was working as a brickyard worker and living with his family in Bury, Huntingdonshire. In 1909, aged 23, he enlisted as a Rifleman in the King’s Royal Rifles and was serving with his regiment in India in 1911. However, the following year he had returned to Britain and was a market gardener and then labourer living in Warboys, Huntingdonshire.

On 14th September 1913 banns of marriage were read for the third and final time at St Mary-at-Finchley for Benjamin, then resident in the parish, and Rachel Richardson (1887–1979), a resident of Warboys. The wedding took place on 22nd September 1913 at St Mary’s Warboys. They had one son, Benjamin Kitchener Roberts, born on 23rd August 1914 (died 29th January 1998), 10 days after his father had disembarked in France, having been recalled to the army. In all probability Benjamin never saw his father, who died just 23 days after his birth. Baby Benjamin was baptised in St Luke's Finchley on 20th Setpember 1914, six days after his father died. The family's address was listed as 6, Balfour Terrace, Squires Lane, Finchley and his father's trade as 'nurseryman'. 

Benjamin's name is listed in the December 1914 edition of the St Luke's Finchley monthly magazine roll of honour as 'missing since October 17th'. Rachel, his widow, married David Cappleman, in Scarborough Registration District, Yorkshire, in the last quarter of 1920.