(Frederick) Vincent Roberts (1907-1977)
(Frederick) Vincent Roberts was born on 25 April 1907 [Birkenhead 1907, 2nd qt]. In the 1911 census he was aged three and his name was recorded as Frederick but he became known as Vincent. His mother died when he was only about eleven years old. It is thought she had been devoutly Catholic; Vincent repeatedly told his children, that when he grew up he rebelled against the strictures of his Catholic upbringing which was why he left home and joined the army. As a young regular soldier he served in India and he may have spent some time in the Middle East.
Vincent kept a photographic record of places where he was stationed and nearby tourist attractions: Egypt - in and around Suez (Port Tewfik and Attaka, both ports near Suez), Cairo (Arrasia Barracks) and Alexandria: India - Chaubattia and Nianital, near its northern borders with China and Nepal: Italy - Pompeii and Vesuvius near Naples. One picture of Vincent (click here to view) in India showed him as a member of the regimental rugby team; he also learned to play hockey out there. He told his family how disgusted he was by the racial segregation in the Catholic services held in India, presumably by the army.
Vincent enjoyed writing prose and poetry and some of it is included in this account of his life, mainly for the light it sheds on events and on his thoughts and feelings. The first such poem is India's Toll.
In the early 1930s Vincent’s brother Norman had a very attractive girlfriend called (Hazel) Doreen Baker who was intrigued by Vincent, the ‘black sheep’ of the family and a very handsome young man with whom none of the family appeared to communicate. I am told she started to write to him; she definitely sought to meet him when he was next home on leave. They met and fell in love.