Joseph Arthur Roberts

Royal Army Service Corps

Personal Details

Born: During the last quarter of 1895 and baptised at St Alkmund’s Parish Church on 4 December that year.

Family: Eldest of six surviving children born to Joseph and Lucy Roberts. In early 1921 he married Hilda Whitfield in Ellesmere, Shropshire. They had a daughter, Gwendoline Mary, whose birth was registered the same quarter.

Residence: At the time of Joseph’s baptism the family were living in Claypit Street, Whitchurch. In 1901 their address was 9 Yardington. By 1911 they were residing at 24 Bargates and this is the address listed on the 1919 Absent Voters’ list for Joseph. The 1939 Register lists Joseph, Hilda and their daughter living close to Whitchurch, at Bradeley Green Cottages in the rural district of Nantwich, Cheshire.

Employment: On enlisting in 1914 Joseph’s trade was given as a motor lorry driver. In 1939 he was a horseman on a farm.

Died: During the last quarter of 1968 and the death was registered in Shrewsbury.

Military Details

Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps

Rank: Private (appointed Lance Corporal 8 Sept 1918)

Service Number: M2/021355

Date of Enlistment: 11 December 1914

Date of Discharge: 17 June 1919

Reason for Discharge: Demobilisation

Other Information: Arrived in France 22 Dec 1914. Brother to George Frederick Roberts who served in the Royal Flying Corps and to Albert Henry Roberts who served in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and the 9th Gloucestershire Regiment.

Medals and Awards

Joseph was awarded the Campaign Medals (1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal)

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The 1914 Star (also known as 'Pip') was authorised under Special Army Order no. 350 in November 1917 and by an Admiralty Fleet Order in 1918, for award to officers and men of the British and Indian Expeditionary Forces who served in France or Belgium between 5 August and midnight of 22–23 November 1914. The former date is the day after Britain's declaration of war against the Central Powers, and the closing date marks the end of the First Battle of Ypres.

The 1914–15 Star (also known as 'Pip') was instituted in December 1918 and was awarded to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served against the Central European Powers in any theatre of the Great War between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915. The period of eligibility was prior to the introduction of the Military Service Act 1916, which instituted conscription in Britain.

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

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