Military Cross, GV, Military Medal, GV, 1914 Star, with original clasp, British War & Victory Medal, Company Quartermaster Sergeant William Roberts, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment & Machine Gun Corps.
Although William Roberts never earned a Commission he is one of the small number of N.C.O. recipients of the usually Officer only Military Cross, he had previously earned a Military Medal for his gallantry at Transloy Ridges in October 1916.
Military Cross engraved; “18735 C.S.M. Roberts, W. M.G.C.”
Military Medal Impressed: “18735 Sjt. W. Roberts. 12/Coy M.G.C.”
1914 Star Impressed: “8870 Pte W. Roberts. R. Lanc:R.”
British War & Victory Impressed: “8870 W.O. CL. 2. W. Roberts. R. Lanc. R.”
Military Cross announced in the London Gazette on 7th March 1918;
18735 C.S.M. William Roberts, M.G. Corps;
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of the ammunition supply during an advance. He succeeded in getting 3,000 rounds forward under an intense barrage. During the following days, though the enemy shell fire was still heavy. He did splendid work in getting up supplies. He displayed the greatest coolness and determination.”
Medals are on their original and frayed silk ribbons as worn over the years, some pitting and contacting, new ribbons will be included.
Born on 23rd June 1888 in Witherslack, Westmorland, William James Roberts was one of seven brothers and sisters.
He joined the army during approximately 1905/6, with the 1st King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, and served in India until 1913.
As part of the 1st Bn Royal Lancasters he arrived in France with the 4th Regular Army Division of the B.E.F. with their first action at Le Cateau on the 26th August, the division then took part in the Battle of Marne, Crossing of the AIsne, Battles of the Aisne, Armentiers, Capture of Meteren and Battle of Messines during 1914.
During 1915 they saw more action at Ypres, St Julian, Frezenberg Ridge and Belewaarde Ridge.
On 24th May 1915, He lost his younger brother Edward who was only 18, he is buried at Ypres, also being a member of the 1st Bn King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment like his older brother.
It appears he had been serving in the small Machine Gun Section of the Lancs, on 24th January 1916, forty men of the 1st King’s Own Royal Lancs fully transferred to the newly formed Machine Gun Corps, which was originally formed to have the Machine Gunners in one main Corps instead of having special designations within their battalions.
He was part of 12th Machine Gun Company, with the 4th Division, serving with his old Battalion, the 1st Royal Lancs as well as the 2nd Lanc Fusiliers, 2nd West Riding’s and the 2nd Essex Regiment.
They were at the Battle of Albert on 2nd July 1916, followed by the Battle where Sgt Roberts would gain distinction, the Battle of Transloy Ridges from 10th to 18th October 1916.
War Diary shows him being awarded the Ribbon of the M.M.;
“G.O.C. 4th Div. presents M.M. Ribbon to CQMS Roberts, 2 Officers & 30 men from Company attended parade.”
His division then took part in the battles of the Scarpe, 1st & 3rd, Battle of Polygon Wood, Battle of Broodseinde, Battle of Poelcapelle & Battle of Passchendaele.
On 24th March 1917 he was once again promoted to Company Sergeant Major and transferred to 118th MG Company in the 39th Division.
Soon after he earned his Military Cross during the fighting for the village of Langemarck which lasted from 16th to 18th August 1917.
On 1st November 1917 he was admitted to Hospital, shown as C.S.M. with the MGC