Born on 21st December
1901 Census National Archives records him as the 7 year old son of George E Roberts & Elizabeth A Roberts.
Address: 291 Seven Sisters Road, Stoke Newington, London.
Attended Bloxham School.
Took up farming on his father’s land, Ivy Farm, East Mersea.
Enlisted with his friend Harry Pearl Cross from Waldegraves Farm. Enlisted at Albert Hall in Colchester. As keen horsemen, they joined the 11th Hussars.
Percy requested a commission and his Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Brooke recommended him for a commission in the infantry, although his application showed that he wished to remain with the 11th Hussars.
Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 11th Battalion Essex Regiment. Trained at Shoreham, billeted in Brighton.
Unfit for service due to unerupted upper wisdom tooth.
Rejoined Battalion, continued training.
While practicing trench warfare on Chobham Common, the Battalion was notified that it would be ordered to France within a week.
Main body of men followed, landing at Boulogne. Moved to Ostrohove rest camp situated on a hill overlooking the town.
Marched to the front line near Bethune ready for the planned offensive to be known as the Battle of Loos. Commenced on 25th September, and lasted until 8th October.
The Battalion moved to the Ypres Salient.
During this tour of duty Percy was taken ill and diagnosed as having tonsillitis and jaundice, the jaundice possibly having been caused by contaminated needles, as he had an injection prior to the jaundice appearing. He was evacuated from the Salient and admitted to the St John Hospital at Etaples
Percy returned to England to recover at home in West Mersea.
Reported for duty with the 12th (Reserve) Battalion, Essex Regiment at Harwich.
Rejoined 11th Battalion on Ypres Salient. Involved in the Battle of the Somme, and later again in the Loos area.
Transferred to the Royal Flying Corps to train as either a pilot or an observer.
Returned home suffering effects of shell shock. Evidence suggests he was gassed.
Medical Board decided that he was permanently unfit to serve as a pilot or observer. Ordered to join the 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment at Felixstowe for a further period of service on the Home Front while he recovered fully.
Again, embarks for France and rejoins the 11th Battalion Essex Regiment which was again in action in the Loos area.
Promoted to rank of Lieutenant and took part in the Battle of Cambrai.
Takes command of ‘A’ Company.
Bapaume on the Somme as Germany launches their Spring offensive, code named ‘Michael’ in an attempt break the Allied lines. The action of the day is vividly described in the Battalion War Diary.
Nothing was ever seen or heard of Lieutenant Percy Roberts again, and his body was never recovered. It was not until 2nd April 1918, that his family in West Mersea were informed by telegram that Percy had been killed.
His colonel wrote ‘Your son’s sad death will cause a sad gap in the battalion. He was a capable, hard working officer, and much beloved by his men, with whom he was always closely in touch. He died gallantly, as an officer should, leading his men, and gave his life for his country and our dear ones at home.’
He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery and on the West Mersea War Memorial. His name also appears on the family grave in the West Mersea Cemetery, Barfield Road.