Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
ff
9995   Sergeant William Arthur Roulston D.C.M.
Save as PDF
Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 02/06/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 1st-5th Battalion, London Regiment (London Irish Rifles) (British Army)
Died: 09/10/1916 (Killed in Action)
Age: 35
Summary      
William Arthur Roulston was the Son of Hugh Thompson and Margaret Roulston. He was born about 1881. His father was a Wesleyan Minister. Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, D.C.M. was serving with the 1st/5th Battalion of the London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) when he was killed in action at Caterpillar Valley on 9th October 1916. He was aged 35. The CWGC records William as the son of Hugh Thompson Roulston, a Wesleyan Minister, and Mrs Margaret Roulston, of Dungannon, County Tyrone.
Further Information
William Arthur Roulston was the Son of Hugh Thompson and Margaret Roulston. He was born in Monaghan about 1881. His father was a Wesleyan Minister.
William Roulston enlisted in Wood Green, London, where he was living.
Medal card
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 24th November 1915 Home from the Front
Rifleman William A Roulston, London Rifle Brigade (Territorial Force), son of a deceased Methodist minister, returned home on leave to Dungannon yesterday, having been on active service in France since October last.
Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, D.C.M. was serving with the 1st/5th Battalion of the London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) when he was killed in action at Caterpillar Valley on 9th October 1916. He was aged 35.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 26 October 1916:
Mrs Roulston, Scotch Street, Dungannon, received the sad intimation on Monday that her son, Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, London Regiment, Bomb-thrower, has been killed in action while gallantly leading his men. His father was the late Rev Hugh T Roulston, a well known Methodist clergyman. The deceased held a commercial position in London prior to the war, but promptly volunteered, having had seven years previous service in the territorial force. His brother Mervyn joined the colours in Canada and is serving in the West Indies. The gallant actions of her sons should not be forgotten to Mrs Roulston by those who have it in their power to befriend her.
Scotch Street, Dungannon
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 28th October 1916:
ROULSTON Killed in action in France, Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, London Rifle Brigade, third son of the late Rev Hugh T Roulston and Mrs Roulston, Dungannon.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 28th October 1916: Sergeant W A Roulston
On Monday the distressing intimation was received by Mrs Roulston, Scotch Street, Dungannon, that her son, Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, London Rifle Brigade, Territorial Force, had been killed in action under circumstances of exceptional bravery. His father was the late Rev Hugh T Roulston, a well-known Methodist clergyman, who had ministered in Manorhamilton, Brookeborough, and other centres in the west and north of Ireland, and had been chairman of the Enniskillen Methodist District. The deceased soldier, who had seven years' service in the Territorial Services, had held a commercial position in London prior to the war, but immediately volunteered. He had been almost two years at the front, and his brother is also on active service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 2 November 1916: The Late Sergeant W.A. Roulston
Mrs Roulston, Scotch Street, Dungannon, whose son, Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, London Rifle Brigade, was killed in action on 9th October, has received the following letter from the deceased soldier's commanding officer:-
'It is with deepest regret that I have to inform you that Sergeant W.A. Roulston was killed in action on the 9th October. He was a fine man and a splendid soldier, and his loss to the regiment is a great one. His fine conduct had previously been reported to me, and I have recommended his name for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which decoration was granted him, and I was informed of it on the 15th October. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your great loss.'
From the Tyrone Courier dated 23 November 1916: Gallant Dungannon Man
The London Gazette announces that the Distinguished Conduct Medal has been awarded to 9995 Lance Corporal W A Roulston, London Regiment, 'for conspicuous gallantry in action. He led a bombing party with great courage and determination, himself killing over thirty of the enemy. Later he led his platoon with marked dash and gallantry.' This gallant non-commissioned officer, who was subsequently promoted to sergeant, did not survive to receive the decoration, having since been killed in action. He was a son of Mrs Margaret Roulston, Scotch Street, Dungannon, and of the late Rev Hugh T Roulston, a well known Methodist clergyman.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 25 November 1916: Dungannon Man Kills over Thirty Germans Deceased D.C.M. Recipient
The announcement that Sergeant William Arthur Roulston, London Regiment, has received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, is gazetted, and the official record states:- 'He led a bombing party with great courage and determination, himself killing over thirty of the enemy. Later he led his platoon with marked dash'. Unfortunately this heroic soldier did not survive to be personally presented with his well-earned distinction, as he has been killed in action. He was the son of Mrs Margaret Roulston, Scotch Street, Dungannon, and of the late Rev Hugh T Roulston, a well-known Methodist clergyman, who had ministered in several centres in the west and north of Ireland, and had been chairman of the Enniskillen Methodist District. Sergeant Roulston, who was almost two years at the front, had held a commercial position in London at the outbreak of the war, but promptly volunteered, his seven years' experience in the English Territorial Services serving him in good stead. His brother. Mervyn Roulston, also volunteered and is serving with the Canadian Forces in the West Indies. The deceased soldier was also a nephew of Mr W J Venables, solicitor, Cookstown.
Caterpillar Valley was the name given by the Army to the long valley which rises eastwards, past "Caterpillar Wood", to the high ground at Guillemont. The ground was captured, after very fierce fighting, in the latter part of July 1916. It was lost in the German advance of March 1918 and recovered by the 38th (Welsh) Division on 28 August 1918.
The CWGC records William as the son of Hugh Thompson Roulston, a Wesleyan Minister, and Mrs Margaret Roulston, of Dungannon, County Tyrone.
Read more
Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Castle Hill, Dungannon Dungannon Central Census listing in Castle Hill 54.505187 -6.768547
2 Scotch Street (No 39) Dungannon Central Census listing in Scotch Street 54.503156 -6.771551
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Roulston family Does not list William as living with the family at house 1 in Castle Hill, Dungannon, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Roulston family Does not list William as living with the family at house 39 in Scotch Street, Dungannon, Tyrone
3 National Archives UK Medal Card can be purchased here
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2021