Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society



8th Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales Regiment (Royal Berkshire Regiment)

Killed in Action 8th August 1918 aged 24

Born on 12th October 1894, in Stanstead Abbotts to parents Charles and Janet, he was one of seven and his father was employed as a carpenter.  By 1901 his father had died and Roland was living with his widowed mother and brothers Frederick and Alexander and a sister Margaret in Victoria Cottages, Chapel (now Cappell) Lane.  By the time of the 1911 census they had moved to Warrax Cottages, also in Chapel Lane, with just his mother and an older sister Isabella and he worked locally as a domestic gardener.

He joined the army in 1915, and went from home to Reading and joined Princess Charlotte of Wales Regiment, better known as the Royal Berkshire Regiment, he was posted to the 8th Battalion.  After training he was sent to France and his unit was attached to No 1 Brigade of the 1St Division later becoming part of the 18th (Eastern) Division. His unit went to France in August 1915 and fought at the battle of Loos in that year. In 1916 at the Somme campaign they fought at Delville Wood, Thiepval and Ancre.  The following year they were at Passchendaele and Scarpe.  In the final year of the war they were involved in the German Spring offensive, Operation Michael.

Then in August 1918 Roland’s battalion  took part in a number of  battles that became known as the 100 days, as the German forces were driven back towards the final positions they occupied when the armistice was announced, his unit was stationed near the city of Amiens, at a small village called Lempire. On 8th August his unit were ordered to attack enemy positions at 11.00, which they did successfully in thick fog, clearing the enemy positions by the evening.  Seven Allied divisions, aided by tanks had attacked the German positions taking them by surprise, and it is believed it was at this time that Roland was killed.

His body was never recovered and he was one of 12 men who were reported as missing. He is commemorated on the memorial at Vis-en-Artois cemetery which bears the names of over 9000 men who fell in the period 8th August to 11th November and have no known grave.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1915 Star