On this day in 1918, Robert Vallance III (1892-1918) died after being shot in the head in France in the Great War.
Robert, a private serving in the 75th Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps, died at the British Military Hospital in Wimereux, near Boulogne.
Awarded the Military Medal for bravery in November 1916, he was a ship’s steward before enlisting in the RAMC in Liverpool on August 25, 1914.
He went to France from Southampton in September 1915 and had completed more than 2½ years’ service with the 75th Field Ambulance when he lost his life on April 12, 1918.
The RAMC were not a fighting force but all of their members, including Robert, experienced the full horror of war.
Robert would have been unarmed as he went to the aid of wounded soldiers on the front line.
More than 6,800 members of the RAMC lost their lives in the war. Of these, 470 officers and 3,669 other ranks were either killed in action or died of wounds.
The 75th Field Ambulance was attached to the 25th Division of the British Army which served on the Western Front throughout the war.
Robert was buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery.
An inscription on his headstone includes the following words: ‘Lord all pitying Jesu blest, grant him thine eternal rest.’
Robert’s personal belongings – including a torch, wristwatch, scissors, knife and rosary ribbon – were sent to his wife, Rosa Martha. She also received his Victory and British War medals.
Rosa was awarded a war pension of 13 shillings and nine pence a week from October 21, 1918.
Robert married Rosa Martha Bradford (1895-1971) on August 21, 1915 at Paignton Parish Church. Rosa was the daughter of Thomas Bradford (1865-1936) and Hannah Reed (1870-1940). Thomas was the son of Richard Bradford (1840-1925) and Elizabeth Bowden (1845-1879). Richard’s sister, Eliza Bradford (1854-1945) married Daniel Arscott (1857-1922) at the Bible Christian Chapel in Lewisham, Kent on January 14, 1901. Daniel was my great-grandfather.
Born on May 19, 1892 in Everton, Lancashire, Robert was the son of postman Robert Vallance II (1870-1902) and Laura Wharmby (1872-1915).
Rosa, born on May 6, 1895 in Drewsteignton, married Cyril John Partridge (1893-1983) on August 7, 1920 in Drewsteignton. They emigrated to Canada in 1927. Rosa died on December 4, 1971 in Kamloops, British Columbia, aged 76. Cyril was a corporal in the Coldstream Guards in the Great War.
Wimereux Communal Cemetery, photographed on August 10, 2013 by Wernervc (CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wimereux_Communal_Cemetery_1.JPG