Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Roy Hamilton Kelly was the son of William and Annie. He was born in Frome, Somerset where his father was a Supervisor of Customs & Excise. He was educated at Bridgnorth Grammar School. In 1911 the family were living in Bridgnorth where seventeen-year-old Roy was an apprentice pharmacist.
At some time in the next few years Roy emigrated to Canada. On October 12th 1915 he enlisted in the Canadian Army; his attestation papers show that he was working as a bank clerk, that he was married (to Mabel) and that he had previously served four years in the Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry.
'R H Kelly, the youngest surviving son of Mr W Kelly, surveyor, H M Customs & Excise, Bridgnorth, was one of a detachment of ten ‘varsity students who left Saskatoon, Canada, on Friday October 15th for Montreal. They will be attached to the 4th Universities Company and will remain in Montreal for a short period prior to their departure for the war zone.’ [Bridgnorth Journal, 13 November, 1915.]
Initially, he served in the 4th Overseas Universities Company but in May 1916 he transferred to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. During Roy’s time with the Patricias the regiment was involved in much heavy fighting. On the 7th June, 1916 he wrote home describing his first experience of battle. He was wounded on September 15, 1916 – during the Battle of the Somme, probably during the subsidiary Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
BRIDGNORTH MEN WOUNDED [Bridgnorth Journal 30th September, 1916] Whilst engaged with the 7th Canadian Trench Mortar Battery, in the operations on the Somme for the period September 5-18, Private Roy H. Kelly, son of Mr. W. Kelly, Surveyor H.M. Customs and Excise, Bridgnorth, was wounded. He has been removed to the Military Hospital, Nottingham, and is progressing favourably. He states that it [sic] never enjoyed himself so much in all his life as he did “whilst the fun was on!”
OLD BOY NOTES [Bridgnorth Grammar School Magazine, December 1916] R. H. Kelly (Trench Mortar Battery, Canadian Division) was wounded in the right leg and the thigh. He is now in the Military Hospital at Nottingham and is fortunately progressing satisfactorily.
At Christmas 1916, a poem in praise of the 'Pats', written by Roy's father was printed in Canada and the Bridgnorth Journal
Roy recovered from his wound and remained with the Patricias until May, 1918 when he was struck off strength to become an officer cadet. He survived the war but died on 4th January 1920 while serving in the RAF. He is buried in Saskatoon (Woodland) Cemetery, Canada.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.