Private Albert Roe

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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.

Private. 4th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers. Service No: 30770.

Previous service with the 1/6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment. Service no 1671.

Early life:

Albert was born in 1887 and his birth was registered in Keighley during the last quarter of the year.
His parents were William Roe and Kate Roe née Marshall who had married at All Saint's Church in Bingley on 19th April 1880.

In the 1891 census he was aged three and living at Bogthorn in Oakworth with his parents William aged 32 and a quarryman, Kate aged 32, housewife. Also living here were Albert's two siblngs who were James aged nine and Kate aged seven. A John Marshall was lodging with them. He was a labourer and may have been related to Kate.
William was a quarryman and at that time there were several quarries nearby, including Syke Top Quarry and Bogthorn Quarry just a short walk along the road from their home.

By 1901 they had moved to 3, Hainworth Crag Road which was straight across on the other side of the Worth Valley, William was 41 and still employed as a stone quarryman and they stone nearby quarries were the Lees Moor quarries and Hainworth Crag Quarry which was closer. Kate was now also 41 and looking after the home with their children James, aged 19 and now a stone quarryman, Kate aged 17 and a worsted spinner, Albert was 13 and a worsted spinner and Marshall, aged eight and at school.

Albert served with the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the West Riding Regiment from 18th December 1906 to 31st March 1908. He signed up for Territorial service on the same date and was now with the 6th Battalion West Riding Regiment, a Territorial soldier. (the Territorial Army was formed on 1st April 1908.)
He served with them for one year, attending the annual training camp at Redcar from 26th July to 2nd August 1908. Albert signed for a further year on 31st March 1909. His termination of engagement was on 2nd April 1910 when he left the service and his total service was 3 years and 106 days.

In the 1911 census the family had moved again, this time to 178, Hermit Hole, Ingrow. William was 51 and a quarryman for the Borough Council, Kate was also 51 and at home. Of their remaining children at home, Albert was 23 and a mechanic, making textile machinery for Hall and Stells whilst Marshall was 19 and a labourer making textile machinery but for Prince Smith.

Albert married Susan Margaret Bird on 3rd June 1911 at St. John's Church, Ingrow in Keighley. He is described as a 23 year old bachelor and iron turner of 17 Hermit Hole; Susan is described as a 19 year old spinster and working as a twister. She was living at 138, Hermit Hole, just along the road from Albert.

After nine weeks Susan applied for a separation order. This appeared in the Belfast Telegraph of 15th August 1911. Presumably a divorce was settled later but we can find no record of this.

War service:

Albert attested with the 6th Battalion West Riding Regiment (Territorials) again, at Haworth on 25th January 1912 and this was for four years service. He passed the preliminary medical on this date. He was still living at 178, Hermit Hole and was married and still working as an iron turner.
His primary military medical examination gives a description of him: Aged 24 years, 5 feet 7 inches tall with a 35 inch chest, good eyesight and good physical development. He was declared fit for service on 22nd February at Haworth and authorised for enlistment on 29th April 1912. His service number was 1671.

Albert attended three annual training camps. They were all with the 6th Battalion and were at Flamborough from 28th July to 11th August 1912; at Aberystwyth in Wales from 27th July to 10th August 1913; at Marske from 26th July to 3rd August 1914.
He was embodied for war service on 5th August 1914. He is named on the 1/6th Battalion nominal roll in the book Craven's Part in the Great War as one of the men who went to France on 14th April 1915.

He was also named in Keighley's Gallant Sons as an early volunteer.

He disembarked from S.S. Onward in Boulogne, France with the 1/6th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment and served with them including several periods in the front line trenches, until 8th June 1915 when he was taken ill. He was evacuated home on 9th June and placed in hospital where he sadly died on 29th October 1915. His next of kin was his wife Susan Margaret Roe of 3, Oak Street in Wilsden. He was discharged in consequence of being found to be permanently unfit for further military service under King's regulations Paragraph 392 (vi) (Tubercular disease of lungs) Authority B179. dated 9th August 1915. He had served for 3 years and 248 days.

Army form B. 179.
Medical report on an invalid.
Colchester, 3rd August 1915.
Unit: 1/6th West Riding Regiment (T) No: 1671. Pte. Albert Roe. Aged 27 years. Enlisted January 15th, 1912 at Haworth. Trade: Iron Turner.
Tubercular disease of the lungs.
Statement of case:
Date of origin of disability: first week in May 1915.
Place of origin of disability: Flearbeau, France.

Concise details of the facts:
According to man's statement, he got run down and had no appetite & had a very bad cough. He had the cough for about a month before he went sick. First of all the cough was very dry then he got up phlegm. He had no haemorrhage. He lost a good deal of flesh. When he went to hospital first, he had cold sweats at night. He was sent from France home as T.B.L. Knows of no one who has consumption in the life of his family, on either side.

Cause: Infection by tubercule bacilli & exposure.
Caused by active service? Active service accelerated the disease.
Present condition: His ordinary weight last year as 9 stone 8 lbs. His weight now is 9 stone 2 lbs after being almost 8 st 2 lbs. He has much impaired in health since he came in but still there are tubercular breath sounds over front of both lungs & a few moist sounds. Tubercule bacilli have been found in sputum in large quantity. Heart normal.

He was discharged as permanently unfit for service on 6th August 1915.

A laboratory report in his Army service records from East Leeds Military Hospital on Harehills Road in Leeds did a sputum test and the results were: 'TB not found.' 'Other organisms present in large numbers.' Dated 7th March 1916.

Army form B. 268a.
Territorial Force - Proceedings on discharge during the period of Embodiment.
No. 1671, Private Albert Roe of the 6th Battalion, West Riding Regiment discharged on 29th October 1915 at Skipton in Craven, Yorkshire.
Age 28 years 10 days. Height 5 feet 8 inches. 36 inch chest, fair complexion, Grey eyes and light hair. Trade, Iron turner. Intended place of residence: 150, Hermit Hole, Ingrow.
Tattoos: Right forearm: Girl, Hand. Left forearm: Head, William, House, bottle of wine, girl's head.
Military character: Good.

Albert was awarded a pension of 12 shillings and 6d for 6 months conditional, expiring on 29th April 1916.
On 16th March 1916 a further statement of the invalid board had stated there were no grounds for renewal of the pension amount.

His medal roll states he had served overseas with the 1/6th West Riding Regiment, also the 9th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, The Labour Corps and the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers. He was serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers when he was discharged.

His death at the Garrison Hospital on Barry Island in South Wales, was on 8th October 1918 was caused by Acute Bright's disease and heart failure. (Brights disease is nephritis or kidney failure.)

Keighley News report dated 19th October 1918 page 3:

Private Albert Roe, Lancashire Fusiliers, of 150, Hermit Hole, Ingrow, Keighley, has died of gas poisoning at Barry Hospital, South Wales. He was a member of the Territorial Force for eight years prior to the outbreak of war. He had been gassed on a previous occasion.

In the same edition, page 8, 'BMD' section:
Interments at Keighley cemetery:
ROE --- October 12, Aged 30, Albert Roe, St John's Garrison Hospital, Barry.

Post war:

Albert would have been awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
His mother Kate Roe received a Dependant's pension of 8 shillings per week beginning on 15th April 1919. He was based at home anyway (although he died in hospital), so she would have received Albert's service medals and bronze memorial plaque etc, assuming one was issued.
The soldier's effects records shows that Kate was the sole legatee in Albert's will and accordingly she received the sum of £12, 0s. 8d on 1st April 1919. This included a war gratuity of £11.


A sandstone grave stone which is rectanguler with corner embellishments. There are seven lines of inscriptions on the front.

Albert's grave in Utley cemetery.

In Utley Cemetery in Keighley, the grave of Albert's father William Roe (who died a few months before Albert) bears the inscription:

In loving memory of my dear husband William Roe, who died 7th July 1918, aged 58 years.
Also of Pte. Albert Roe, 4th Lanc. Fusiliers, beloved son of the above Wm. &; Kate Roe, who died at the Garrison Hospital Barry Island, South Wales, Oct. 8th 1918, in his 31st year.
Rest In Peace.

This grave is in the New section over the railway bridge, plot N, grave 348.

Albert's name is also on the Ingrow War Memorial in front of St. John's Church.

Information sources:

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
England & Wales marriages 1837-2008 Transcription
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920
British Army World War I Pension Records 1914-1920
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Family grave headstone in Utley Cemetery, Keighley
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923

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