Ernest Victor Roe
Date of birth: 1885
Date of death: 20.09.1914
Regiment: West Yorkshire
Family information: Son of Frederick Charles and Emily Roe nee Bratt
Service number: 7885
When war was declared on 4th August 1914 he was called up and left home 5th August, joining the Regiment at Lichfield.
The Regiment landed at St Nazare on 10th September.
The 1st West Yorkshire Battalion were in the 18th Infantry Brigade of 6th Division. They moved to the Front on 15th September to take part in the Battle of the Aisne.
On 19th September took their positions NNW of Paissy along the Chemin de Dames. By 11pm they were in line. On the extreme right the 1st WYR were next to the 5th French Army. Troops consisted of a Regiment of Tireulleurs d’ Afrique (Moroccans – Turcos). On their left, Durham Light Infantry, then the East Yorkshire Regiment. The Sherwood Foresters (2nd Notts and Derbyshire) were in reserve.
Shortly after dawn on 20th September the French troops came under heavy fire from the German guns. They fell back, leaving the West Yorks exposed. When the French rallied they fired into the West Yorks who had been sent to cover the gap. There were 30 casualties.
There was a second German attack between 10am and 11am.
The third German attack began at noon, under cover of a heavy rainstorm. The Moroccans fell back again, having lost all their officers. Being unprotected once more, a company of West Yorks was sent to protect their right but came under German fire and were captured. The German troops worked their way down the line and took what remained of two more companies into captivity. The remaining company went forward but were unable to retrieve the situation and had to fall back to Paissey. All that was left of the Battalion was ordered into reserve at Troyon. Action ceased at 4.30 pm. Casualties were – 8 officers killed, 8 missing. 71 other ranks killed, 110 wounded and 436 missing.
Private Ernest Victor Roe was among the casualties at some time during the day and is remembered on the Memorial to the Missing at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre.
Ernest Victor Roe was born in Knottingley 1885, the third child of Frederick Charles and Emily Roe, nee Bratt. They had eight children, Bertha, Esther, Victor, Charles Frederick, Roger, Dudley, Harry and Gertrude.
Frederick Roe was born in Clay Cross, Derbyshire and Emily was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire. They lived in Derbyshire before coming to Knottingley. In Knottingley they lived in Aire Street and Frederick had various businesses. He was a fishmonger, a coal merchant, a provision merchant and farmer, living at Racca Green Farm.
Some of the children worked in the family business. Dudley was a Trainee Teacher and Ernest Victor joined the Army. He served with The West Yorkshire Regiment for nine years, five of them in India. He served on the Frontier.
Ernest returned home in January 1914 and was a reservist in 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment.