D’Arcy Granville St Clair Roberts was born in Stourbridge in 1891. His father was a dental surgeon, who lived at ‘Stourhurst’ in Lower High Street and later at Platts House, Amblecote. He attended King Edward’s School and went on to Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. He was commissioned 2/Lt into the Worcestershire Regiment in February 1912 in the 6th (Militia) Battalion. He volunteered for active service when the Great War began in August 1914 and was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant in the 12th (Reserve) Battalion in December. He joined the 4th Battalion in the 29th Division on Gallipoli in July 1915 after they had suffered huge losses in the battles of Krithia and was then promoted Temporary Captain in command of a company. He fought in this campaign during the hot summer but then suffered from malarial fever, which led to hospital in Malta and return to England for recovery. The battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli in December and was sent to the Western Front. While at home he married Elsie Britten of Kidderminster in April 1916. Duty called within 48 hours and he re-joined his battalion less than a week later. The 4th Battalion was stationed on the Somme by this time and preparing for the much hoped for breakthrough. He was given command of X Company for the 1st July, the first day of the battle, although his company was not heavily engaged in this crucial attack. In the later stages of the battle the battalion returned to the front line for the Battle of the Transloy Ridges and Captain Roberts was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the capture of Gueudecourt on the 18th October. After further sickness and injury he returned to his battalion in time for the battle of Arras in April 1917. The fighting in May was close to the Hindenburg Line and he suffered gunshot wounds to the leg on the 20th May at Monchy-le-Preux. He recuperated after hospital treatment in Bristol and returned to France just before the German Spring offensives of March 1918. He was posted to the 1st Battalion in the 8th Division and took part in the second Battle of the Somme and in the long retreat that followed. By the end of April the German forces were poised to take Amiens and reach the Channel. The 8th Division and the Australians finally halted the Germans at Villers Bretonneux, but at a heavy cost. Among those killed in action was Captain D’Arcy Roberts. He is buried in Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux (II E 16) and commemorated on the Amblecote and King Edward VI College, Stourbridge, Memorials and on his parents’ grave in Amblecote church yard.
Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley
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