William Roberts EM MM

b. 10/1888 Caernarvonshire, Wales.  d. 07/1963 Caernarvon, Wales.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 15/01/1924 Dorothea Slate Quarry, Caernarvonshire.

Private William Roberts, E.M., M.M., was born in Caernarvonshire, Wales in October 1888 and travelled to Canada sometime before the Great War. Enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1914, he proceeded to France, via the U.K., with the 8th Canadian Infantry – “The Black Devils” – in April 1915. Subsequently engaged in operations on the Somme and at Ypres, he was wounded on three occasions and awarded his M.M. for bravery in an action of mid-October 1916. Roberts returned to Wales on being demobilised in May 1919, and found employment as a Quarryman. He died in Caernarvon in July 1963, aged 75 years.



On 15 January 1924, four men were engaged in clearing away debris from a landslide which had blocked a road abutting on Dorothea Slate Quarry in Caernarvonshire. Without any warning a portion of the road slipped into the quarry carrying with it one of the men who fell to the bottom and was killed. A second man named Robert Jones narrowly escaped the same fate but managed to clutch the edge of the road in his fall. Roberts, one of his fellow workers, at once went to his assistance; he seized Jones by the wrists and managed to drag him to safety. Roberts undoubtedly performed a very courageous act; there was little firm ground left and such as it was it might well have given way at any moment. But for his action Robert Jones would certainly have lost his life as he could hold on no longer when Roberts reached him and there was a clear drop of 240 feet to the bottom of the quarry.