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St Peter-in-the East Church: Arthur Robert Montgomery ROE (1882–1914)

Arthur Robert Montgomery Roe was born in India in 1882, the son of Charles Arthur Roe (born in Blandford, Dorset in 1841) and Elizabeth Gaskell, who were married in Kidderpore, India on 2 July 1865. Arthur's father had joined the Indian Civil Service in 1862 and he was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Punjab in 1863. All of their children were born in India:

  • Frances Mary Elizabeth Roe (born in Amritsar, Punjab on 27 June 1866)
  • Charles Edward Gaskell Roe (born in Umitsur, Bengal on 11 November 1867)
  • Francis Reginald Roe (born in Dalhousie, West Bengal on 5 August 1869)
  • Bernhard Oswald Roe (born in Hoshiarpur, Bengal on 29 December 1870)
  • Annie Margaret Roe (born in the Punjab in 1872)
  • Arthur Robert Mongomerie Roe Iborn in Birdwan, West Bengal on 6 September 1882).

Arthur's father was Deputy Commissioner of the Punjab in 1878 and Additional Commissioner in 1883.

His sister Frances was married in 1885:

Lady Douie became a botanical collector.

At the time of the 1891 census Arthur (8) was back in England, staying at Tarrant Rushton in Dorset with his paternal aunt Mary (71) and her husband James Penny (85), who was the Rector of Rushron & Rawston; and his widowed grandmother Mary Roe (85) was also living with them.

Three months after that census, on 11 July 1891, Arthur's mother Elizabeth Roe died in Simla, Bengal.

On 26 May 1894 Arthur's brother Charles Edward Gaskell Roe died in Marylebone at the age of 26, and was buried at Tarrant Rushton in Dorset.

Arthur's father was knighted in 1897.

His sister Margaret was married in 1899:

  • In the third quarter of 1899 at St George's, Hanover Square, (Annie) Margaret Roe married Army Major George Langworthy.

By the time of the 1901 census Arthur's widowed father Sir Charles Roe (59), who had been an undergraduate at Merton College, had retired to Oxford. He was then living at 1 Holywell Street, Oxford with his married daughter Margaret (29) and their four servants (a cook, parlourmaid, housemaid, and kitchenmaid). Arthur and his unmarried brothers Francis and Bernhard are hard to find.

Arthur entered Rugby School in 1906, and went on to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He was gazetted to the Dorsetshire Regiment in August 1900, and promoted Lieutenant in January 1902. From April 1908 to September 1911 he was Adjutant of his Battalion.

His brother Francis was married in 1909:

  • On 27 October 1909 at St Peter's Church, Cranley Gardens, London, Francis Reginald Roe (40) of the Indian Civil Service, whose residence was given as 1 Holywell Street, married Beatrice Margaret Goold Adams (25) of Cranley.

At the time of the 1911 census Arthur (28) was a Captain in the First Battalion of the Dorset regiment based in Farnborough in Hampshire (Alma Barracks, Blackdown). His father Charles was still at 1 Holywell Street, and his unmarried niece Florence Penny (55) lived with him, plus three servants.

Arthur himself was married in 1911:

  • On 30 September 1911 at St Philip's Church, Kensington, Arthur Robert Montgomery Roe (29) married Joan Hilda Marian Wiseman (20) the youngest daughter of the late Captain Sir William Wiseman, Bart., R.N. of Nevern Square.

They appear to have had just one child:

  • Alison Margaret Florence Roe

From January 1912 Arthur was at the Staff College, and he rejoined his battalion in Ireland in February 1914 and was based at Victoria Barracks, Belfast.

Poppy Arthur Robert Montgomery Roe left Ireland for the front when the First World War broke out and was attached to the General Staff of the 3rd Division. He rejoined his regiment during the retirement from Mons on account of the shortage of offices, and served as a Captain in the 1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. On 9 September 1914 at the Battle of the Marne he was wounded in the arm while leading an attack but refused to have his wound attended to, and later in the day he was shot through the head. It was reported that as he was carried off he shouted to the men, “Stick it, Dorsets”. He died of his wounds a week later, on 16 September, at Le Mans Hospital in France, at the age of 32: this was less than six weeks after Britain joined the war. He was mentioned in Sir John French's Despatch of 14 January 1915.

He is buried at Sarthe, France (in the south-west corner of the main cemetery), and is remembered on Rugby School War Memorial and on the St Peter-in-the-East Church war memorial, which is now on the wall of Balliol College Archives (the former St Cross Church). He is also remembered on a brass memorial plaque in Tarrant Rushton Church, Dorset which reads:

In living memory of
of the Dorsetshire Regiment.
Youngest son of Sir Charles Arthur Roe, kt.
Born September 6th 1882.
Died of his wounds in France, September 16th 1914.
Pro Rege, pro Lege, pro Patria.

His effects came to £334 1s.2d., and his executor was his wife's brother Sir William George Eden Wiseman, 10th baronet.

After the war

Arthur's daughter

  • Alison Margaret Frances Roe married Walter F. Lyons at Kensington in 1938.

Arthur's widow

  • Joan Hilda Margaret Roe died in the St Pancras district of London at the age of 64 in 1955.

Arthur's father

  • Sir Charles Arthur Roe remained at 1 Holywell Street and died there at the age of 85 on 28 January 1927.

Arthur's siblings

  • Francis Reginald Roe died at 15 Park Town, Oxford at the age of 72 and was buried In Holywell Cemetery (see grave) on 7 March 1942 (burial recorded in the St Cross Church parish register).

See also

© Stephanie Jenkins

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