Menu ☰
Liverpool Pals header
Search Pals

Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 15563 Rhys Roberts

  • Age: 24
  • From: Beddgelert, Caernarvon
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 17th Btn
  • Died Friday 14th January 1916
  • Commemorated at: Cerisy-gailly Mil Cem
    Panel Ref: II.H.5

Born 1893, he was the third eldest and oldest son of William, a farmer, and Elizabeth who, at the time of his death were living at Bwlch, Nantgwynant, Caernarvonshire. Rhys was born in Beddgelert, as were his six brothers and sisters. William was chairman of Beddgelert Parish Council.

Rhys was living in Bootle, his home prior to enlisting was at 5 Wadham Road, Bootle. He was forging a career in the cotton trade when war broke out. He was one of about 80 young men from the Welsh Methodist Chapel in Stanley Road, Bootle, who hurried to volunteer for the armed forces. Rhys enlisted in September 1914 and became a Private in the King’s Liverpool Regiment.

In August 1915 he married Edith Mary Griffith of Bryn Celyn, Benllech, Anglesey. She had previously lived in Bootle. The wedding took place at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey. Rhys’ sister Alice was one of the bridesmaids. his home prior to enlisting was at 5 Wadham Road, Bootle.

He enlisted in Liverpool Joining the 17th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 15563. He was billeted at Prescot Watch Factory from 14th September 1914, he trained there and also at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 17th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. He arrived in France on 7th November 1915.

His military record is unavailable but the Medal Roll shows him as Rees Roberts and shows that he earned his three medals. The records show that he died on 14th January 1916 when he was killed by a premature grenade explosion which killed two of his comrades, Charles Edwin Harvey and Leonard Charles Brownlie.
The battalion diary for 14th January 1916 records:

2am 14.01.16 - No.16050 Pte Brownlee L.C. (D Coy), No.15563 Pte Roberts Rees (C Coy), & No. 24934 Pte Harvey C.E. (D Coy) accidentally klled by premature explosion of rifle grenade.   

The Liverpool Echo of 26th January 1916 reported the death of Rhys:


Pte.Rhys Roberts, of the 17th Service Battalion K.L.R., has been killed in France. He was preparing a bomb to discharge at the enemy, when he was hit. Death was instantaneous. Two of his comrades similarly engaged, were killed at the same time. Before enlisting, Private Roberts lived at 5, Wadham-road, Bootle.

The Liverpool Daily Post of 26th January 1916 carried a more detailed report:



Whilst preparing a bomb to discharge at the enemy "Somewhere in France" on January 14th, Private Rhys Roberts of the 17th (Service) Battalion King's (Liverpool Regiment) 30th Division, was accidentally killed, along with two of his comrades, owing to an explosion.

Writing from the front Second Lieutenant A. I. Draper 17th K.L.R., says:

"He was one of my very best and finest men and was selected for one of the most responsible positions in our battalion. Wherever he moved he won nothing but respect and admiration and was always willing to do anything he could for others."

Captain T Priestly, K.L.R., also wrote in similar terms.

"The same afternoon", writes the Rev. M. Linton Smith, hon canon of Liverpool and chaplain to the 89th Brigade, "I laid him and his friends to rest in the beautiful little cemetery, which has been formed nearby, and which after the war will become British property, so that the graves will always be cared for. A carefully made cross, with full inscription, marks each grave, and I shall e personally responsible as long as I am here for seeing that the cemetery is kept in proper order".

Private Rhys Roberts left with the first lot of Liverpool Pals who went to the front. He lived at 5 Wadham Road, Bootle, before he enlisted and came from Nant Gynant five years ago. A member of Stanley-road Calvanistic Methodist Church, he was one of eighty others who joined the colours from that place of worship. Much sympathy is felt for the parents and particularly for the young widow, the marriage having taken place last summer only".          

Rhys now rests at Cerisy Gailly Cemetery, Grave II H 5 where his headstone bears the epitaph:


Soon after his death,  his father William Roberts signed a petition protesting at the leniency which the local military tribunal was showing to young men from the area who appealed against conscription. 

Rhys is commemorated on the folowing Memorials:

Bedgellert Memorial

Benllech Memorial

Welsh Presbyterian Memorial situated off Stanley Road, Bootle which is now an office.

Liverpool Cotton Association, Walker House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool