5th Gordon Highlanders, 21 August 1915
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
The following is an extract of the above publication:-
Roberts, Philip Hugh Gore, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders (Territorial Force), younger son of the late Reverend William Walter Roberts, of 6, Westbourne Park Road, by his wife, Ann Shannon, daughter of the late James Caird; and grandson of the late Captain John Walter Roberts, Royal Navy; born Addison Gardens, Kensington, 30 May, 1896; educated Clifton College, where he was a member of the Officer Training Corps; left College in December 1914, and obtained a commission in the Gordon Highlanders 27 February 1915; went to France 2 May; took part in several actions, when he showed much bravery and daring; accompanied his Company Commander, Major McDonald, on all scouting expeditions, and on one occasion captured a German flag and standard amid heavy fire, quite unhurt, and was killed in action in ordinary trench duty at Bellincourt, 21 August 1915. Buried at Millen Court.(sic)
The following is an extract from a compilation of stories by the Reverend G.H. Donald, West Parish Church, Aberdeen on his experiences following twelve months’ service as a chaplain at the Front in the Highland Field Brigade with a particular reference to the Aberdeen Artillery and the 5th and 7th Gordon Highlanders. One of the Titles is given as:-
Capturing A German Flag
It was published in the Stonehaven Journal dated 25 May 1916:-
“In one part of the line the enemy had placed a flag at the edge of a crater formed by a mine explosion. A young officer of the Gordons, Lieutenant Roberts, and a senior officer, Major MacDonald, went out one night. They reached the bottom of the crater in safety, and endeavoured to sling a rope round the staff to pull away the flag, but failed. Finally they walked as far as practically the top of the German parapet, and wrenched away the flag. As they were returning, the Germans saw them and fired, but they reached their own trenches untouched. Unfortunately, young Roberts was hit in the head by a sniper two days after this incident. He was taking another officer round the trenches, and, as they passed along, near the enemy’s trenches, they came to a gap in the trench which had been blown in the night before. Roberts told the other officer – “Perhaps we should crawl here, ” and then he said – ‘No, by Jove, we will not!” He walked straight through the gap and was shot in the head and died three hours later.
It would appear by reading the 5th Gordon Highlanders War Diary that on the day of Philip Roberts death the Battalion was being relieved by the 6th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, it is feasible that Robert was handing over his area of responsibility to another officer when he was tragically shot.
Major McDonald whom he is mentioned accompanying while patrolling in No Man’s Land a short time before his death, was recommended for a Distinguished Service Order by the Battalion at the end of August 1915 as mentioned in the unit War Diary.
Following his death, his mother Ann was shown in the 1915 Probate Calendar as being the sole Legate to his belongings and pension, by this time his father was deceased.
Although Philip was originally buried in Millencourt Communal Cemetery, following the end of hostilities, in 1919 his body was moved to the newly built Millencourt Communal Cemetery Extension.
The following family information has been ascertained from the 1901 Census and De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour :-
- Father: William Walker Roberts, born c.1830 at Hammersmith, London.
- Mother: Ann Shannon Caird or Roberts, born c.1858 at Christchurch, West Kensington.
- Brother: Ian H., born c.1877 at Erith, Kent.
In the 1901 Census in addition to his family, his home is also shown as having three servants.
Records show that Frank lived at the following addresses :-
- 1896: Residing with parents at 39 Addison Gardens, Hammersmith, London.
- 1901: Residing with his parents at 39 Addison Gardens, Hammersmith, London.
- 1915: 76 Kensington Gardens Square, London.
- Post Great War: The address given following his death for the CWGC for his mother was given as Milton House, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Middlesex.
Although there is no indication on the Medal Index Card of Philip H. G. Roberts being awarded any medals, he would have certainly been entitled to the 1914-15 Star, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.
I have been unable to trace a war memorial where Philip Hugh Gore Roberts is honoured and remembered.
Links to Additional Information
- Lives of the First World War – Philip Hugh Gore Roberts.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Philip Hugh Gore Roberts.
- A Street Near You – Philip Hugh Gore Roberts.
- Find A Grave – Philip Hugh Gore Roberts.
- 1901 England, Wales and Scotland Census.
- St. John the Baptist, Kensington, Baptism Records.
- National Probate Calendar 1915.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Medal Index Cards.
- Civil Registrations of Birth.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- Pension Card.
- Stonehaven Journal dated 25 May 1916.
- Vincent Stuart