Joseph Nicholson Roberts (923090)

"Everywhere That Right And Glory Lead"

You Bore Your Cross So Patiently. Ever Remebered By Loving Wife Doris. R.I.P.

Joseph (Jo) was born on the 21st September 1918, in Sunderland. The son of Elizabeth Adamson and Thomas James Roberts, Jo died at the young age of 28 on 19th September 1947, leaving a young wife my Nan Doris Stokes. Jo was one of those commonly reffered to in Sunderland as "Sunderland's Own" who signed up at the local drill hall to the 74th Field Regiment, Royal Artillary that was later to become the fatefull 125th Anti Tank Regiment, RA. This regiment would board the RMS Empress Of Asia, that was sunk off the coast of Singapore the men disembarking onto singapore territory to ultimatly be captured by the Japanese. The timeline below provides us with the war time events of Jo's regiment, many of which did not see home again.

  • 1939 - Signed up at the local Drill Hall assigned Battery A
  • 26th August 1939 - Spent a week in Whitby, Yorkshire Teritorial Army training
  • 2nd September 1939 - Returned to Sunderland Barracks
  • June 1940 - Posted to Norfolk for further training this entailed a change of role from Field Artillary to Anti-Tank
  • November 1940 - Whilst Regiment was training at Norfolk, it was placed under War Office orders
  • December 1940 - Regiment relocated to Scotland under bitter conditions with snow on the ground Regiment undertook desert training
  • March 1941 - Regiment to board the P&O Liner Strathaird at Gourock, Renfrewshire, Scotland spent 10 days aboard with a few days sailing, ship needed repairs eventually ship was deemed not ready Regiment to be reassigned.
  • April 1941 - Posted to Glasgow, Scotland - Firewatching duties
  • May 1941 - Posted to Liverpool, England - Firewatching duties, during the blitz of Liverpool the Regiment suffered its first three casualties
  • June 1941 - Posted to Cheshire, England - for further training during which the Regiment spent some time in Trawsfynydd, Merionethshire, Wales and then returned to cheshire. It's during this time Jo met Doris Stokes, as Doris was living in Stockport it would have been a wirlwind romance and marriage.
  • 22nd October 1941 - Jo married Doris, in the local parish church in Stockport less than a week would pass before Jo would start his long journey of nearly 20,000 miles and he will not return until September 1945.
  • 28th October 1941 - The Regiment boarded the S.S. Oronsay at Avonmouth, Gloucestershire, England and about midday left the shores of England and set sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia arriving around midday on the 8th November.
  • 10th November 1941 - The Regiment boarded the USS Joseph T. Dickman at Halifax, and at some point in the morning passed the Granite cliffs Outside Halifax and sailed down the east coast of America to Trinidad where she refulled and headed of again crossing the equator at Longitude 400 27' West on the 23rd November, the ship then headed east for Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 9th December 1941 - Sailed into Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa the regiment was granted 4 days leave, the first time the men had more than just a couple of hours on shore since the 28th October.
  • 13th December 1941 At 10:30am the Regiment set sail, for Bombay now known as Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. the USS Joseph T. Dickman arrived in India on the 27th December the regiment was to move inland to Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India for orientation training. they arrived on new years day 1942
  • 23rd January 1942 The Regiment boarded the C.P.R. liner Empress of Asia, where they headed for a few days towards Australia, when about 80 south of the equator, the course changed suddenly and the regiment passed through the Sunda Strait dividing Sumatra and Java. Ship continued on course heading north. At this point the troops knew where they where heading that being Singapore.