• Christina Drummond

Captain Francis Bernard Roberts, 9th Battalion, The Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade)


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Captain Francis Bernard Roberts, 9th Battalion, The Prince Consort’s Own (Rifle Brigade), was killed in action at St. Julien, Ypres, in Belgium.

The son of a canon of the Church of England, he was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He was an avid sportsman, playing football and cricket for both colleges. A right-handed batsman and right-arm fast bowler, he also played for Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire; his first-class career began in1903 and only ended because of the outbreak of war. (For cricket aficionados: across eighty matches he scored 2,566 runs at a batting average of 20.36 with five centuries and a best of 157; with the ball he took 88 wickets). After achieving his B.A. degree in 1904, he went on to become an Assistant Master at Wellington College and was then commissioned in 1914 when the Great War broke out.

Captain Roberts is recorded as arriving in Boulogne in November of 1915, and had only seen action on the Western Front for two months before his death. He is buried in the Talana Farm Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, and his gravestone is thus inscribed: “He pleased God, therefore He hasted to take him away.”

Francis, born in India during his father’s missionary work there, but raised in Stroud in Gloucestershire, was 33 years old.

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