Roberts, Jack Nichols

Roberts, John (Jack) Nichols

Military History:

Regiment:                               Royal Defence Corps

Rank:                                      Acting Sergeant

Regimental Number:              13123

Date of Enlisting:                    2.11.1914

Date of death:                         Not known

Cemetery/ Memorial:   

UK Cemetery/Memorial:       St Mary’s Church Ashwell Roll of Honour

John (Jack) enlisted on 2 November 1914.  A newspaper article reports him joining the Hertfordshire Regiment, Regimental Number not known, and with whom he served for 18 months after which he transferred to the 43rd Protection Company of the Royal Defence Corps, Regimental Number 13123, and then the 156th Protection Company.  The Royal Defence Corps was a Regiment based in England which guarded railways, bridges and prisoners of war. He volunteered for active service at the Front but his age forbade this.

Jack was discharged on 28th March 1918 as being over military age and not well.

A report in the Royston Crow dated 6 November 1914 states that Captain Jack Roberts has previous experience in foreign waters and knowledge of submarine affairs.

Jack was awarded the Silver War Badge.

He is commemorated on the St Mary’s Church Ashwell Roll of Honour.


Family History:


Date of Birth:                29.9.1848

Birth Place:                   Not known ‘At sea’

Residence:                    Ashwell, Hertfordshire

Marriage:                      Not known


Nothing is known of Jack’s early life. The 1911 census shows him as the proprietor of the Three Tuns pub in Ashwell, Hertfordshire and having been born ‘at sea’. It also shows him as having been married to Sarah Ann for five years but her surname is not known.  A newspaper report dated 7 April 1922 reports Captain Jack’s retirement from the Three Tuns due to ill health.

A report in the Royston Crow newspaper dated 28 September 1917 wishes Jack happy birthday for his 69th birthday which means he must have been born in 1848.

This same article reports him as being highly respected and possessing medals for life saving, including the Royal Humane Society Medal. He has a record of saving over one hundred lives individually.  He was known as Captain Jack and as the Royston Crow reports him as having ‘knowledge of submarine affairs’ it is assumed he was a sea captain.   Another article dated 7 April 1922 reports Captain Jack having spent time in China, Japan, Formosa and Korea.

Captain Jack entered his hound in the Hertfordshire Hounds annual competition in 1911 and won second prize.

It is not known if he had children.

It is not known when he died.




Name:John Nichols Roberts
Birth Place:‘At sea’
Residence:Ashwell, Hertfordshire
Death Date:Not known
Enlistment Place:Not known
Rank:Acting Sergeant
Regiment:Royal Defence Corps
(previously Hertfordshire Regiment)
Battalion:156th Protection Company
Regimental Number:13123
Type of Casualty:Survived
Theatre of War:England

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