An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Joseph Dennis ROEBUCK

No. 14218951 Trooper, 15th (Scottish) Reconnaissance
Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps.

Died 29 August 1944, aged 20 years.

Buried in Saussay-la-Campagne Churchyard, Eure, France.

Reconnaissance units in scout cars spearheaded infantry divisions as they fought across northern France from the Normandy beachhead in 1944. The role of these units was to probe the territory ahead and radio back to headquarters the dispositions and strengths of enemy forces. Before being chosen for this vital reconnaissance work, which required initiative and stealth as well as courage, soldiers had to pass a special IQ test.

Trooper Roebuck’s reconnaissance regiment spearheaded the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division. He was killed during the advance, along with his sergeant, and they are buried side by side in this quiet village churchyard 20 miles south-east of Rouen.

Joseph Dennis Roebuck was the son of Joseph and Edith Roebuck and they lived in the High Street, Redcar. He joined Coatham School in April 1933, aged nine, and entered Ingham’s House. He was a fee-paying day boy, and was placed in the preparatory class. On Sports Day 1935 he came third in two races for the under-10½-year-olds. In his final year at school, 1938-39, he took part in the school pantomime. Joseph’s father, a town councillor and himself an Old Coathamian, was killed in an air-raid on the town on 21 October 1941, a raid which claimed the lives of several people associated with the school. Joseph’s own death was first recorded on the School’s Roll of Honour in December 1944.