Private Robert Edwin Stubbs, 19455, 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards
Robert Edwin Stubbs was the son of artist Thomas Edwin Stubbs and his wife, Fanny, nee Smith, who married on November 22nd 1892 at St. John The Evangelist, Dewsbury Moor. Robert was baptised at St. Peter and St. Leonard, Horbury on December 2nd 1894. His baptism record says the family were living in Horbury at the time. However, the 1901 census shows Robert Stubbs living with his parents at Albert Street, South Ossett. His father, Thomas, is a self-employed artist working from home.
Robert Edwin's uncle, Robert Herbert Stubbs (born Ossett 1870) married Mary Alice Gregson in July 1898 and they had a daughter, Cicely who was born in 1899. In 1922, Cicely Stubbs married Harold Bentley, Ossett mineral water manufacturer and Bentley's partner, George Hanson was a witness at the wedding.
The 1881 census places the Stubbs family at Albert Street, Ossett. The 1891 census shows them at 11, Albert Street, Ossett. Thomas Edwin is now 27 years of age and he is working as an artist / landscape painter. He was baptised in Barnsley on July 26th 1863. His brother John Henry was born in Ossett on July 11th 1865. This then gives us a rough idea of when the Stubbs family arrived in Ossett.
The 1911 census also tells us that Robert's father, Thomas Stubbs is working as an artist, "on his own account", whilst 16 year-old Robert is a butcher at the Ossett Cooperative. The Stubbs family live at 24, Albert Street, Ossett, which is shown to be a five roomed house. They've taken in a boarder, 21 year-old William Wilkinson, who is a grocer's assistant at Slaters Ltd.
Robert Edwin Stubbs married Sarah Lydia Metcalfe (born Overton July 7th 1895) at St Luke's Church, Middlestown on February 15th 1915 and his occupation was recorded as a "butcher". The 1911 census records Sarah as a "shop apprentice" in the Cooperative Boot Department. They had two daughters: Kathleen Stubbs, born in late 1915 and Constance Stubbs, born in 1917, but who sadly died in 1918.1 Robert's widow Sarah L. Stubbs remarried William S. Miller in the Blackpool area in 1919.
It is likely that Private Robert E. Stubbs was wounded during the Third Battle of Ypres (more commonly known as the Battle of Passchendaele) when the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards fought in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge from 31st July to the 2nd August 1917 during which they captured the German positions around Artillery Wood. The following are extracts from the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards War Diary for the 21st July 1917 and also 1st August 1917:
"21 July 1917, On the night of 21/22 July 1917, the Battalion relieved the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards in the Right Bde sector of the BOESINGHE area. Dispositions were: No 1 Coy 3 platoons in the right front line, 1 in WALL PRANTZ (this had to be evacuated due to very heavy shelling). No 2 Coy 3 platoons to left front line, 1 in S line. No 3 Coy in X line No 4 Coy 1 platoon in Y line (which was also evacuated) Y 3 platoons at BILLIEP FARM. HQ at CHASSEUR FARM.
There was a great deal of shelling during this tour in the line and the Battn suffered the following casualties in the five days up:- 27 killed; 11 Died of wounds, wounded 45 O.R. gassed 10 O.R. Concussion 7 O.R. Wd & D at 2 Officers & 2 O.R.
"1st Aug 1917, 6 am Bn H.Q. moved to GRAND BARRIERRE House. There was a good deal of shelling and machine gun fire all day. The Battalion was relieved immediately after dark by the 1st Bn Irish Guards and marched back to Bivouac No 1 in the forest area.
Total casualties in the Battle = 26 Killed, 113 Wounded, 12 Missing, 2/Lt B.J. Dunlop, Captain G.?. East RAMC Killed."
Above: A team of stretcher bearers struggle carry a wounded man through deep mud to safety near Boesinghe on the 1st August 1917 during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge part of the Third Battle of Ypres.
Private 19455 Robert Edwin Stubbs, a guardsman in the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards, died from wounds at number 8 Stationary Hospital, Pas de Calais, France on August 10th 1917. He is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Robert Edwin Stubbs was 22 years of age at the time of his death. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Wimereux was the headquarters of the Queen Mary's Army Auxilliary Corps during the First World War and in 1919 it became the General Headquarters of the British Army. From October 1914 onwards, Boulogne and Wimereux formed an important hospital centre and until June 1918, the medical units at Wimereux used the communal cemetery for burials, the south-eastern half having been set aside for Commonwealth graves, although a few burial were also made among the civilian graves. By June 1918, this half of the cemetery was filled, and subsequent burials from the hospitals at Wimereux were made in the new military cemetery at Terlincthun.2
Thanks to Anne-Marie Fawcett for her research on Private Robert Edwin Stubbs.