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Roberta Ewart RobertsonMunitions Worker
Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : Roberta Ewart Robertson
Date and Place of Birth: 18th July 1896 Dumfries, Dumfriesshire
Date and Place of Death: 27 March 1917 N/G Hill 4, Dornock
Childhood: She had 6 siblings. 7 children including Roberta.
Parents: William & Priscilla (nee Ewart)
Parent’s occupations: William worked as a grain carter but then became a warehouseman in a grain store.
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: N/K
Occupation: Tailoring Machinist
Place of residence at Gretna: 34 Bank Street, Dumfries
Job title at Gretna: Munitions worker
Marital status: Unmarried
Children: None known.
Trivia / any other information:
Roberta was born on 18th July 1896 into the family of William and Priscilla Robertson, who were living at 68 English Street in Dumfries. At the time of the 1901 census Joseph, Roberta’s eldest brother had moved away having secured employment working as a railway locomotive cleaner in Ayrshire. William and Priscilla were blessed with seven children. Originally William worked as a grain carter but then became a warehouse man in a grain store. Several of Roberta’s brothers in later life had extensive careers in the grain industry both in Scotland and Canada.
By the 1911 census, the family were still living on English Street in Dumfries and Roberta was employed fulltime as a machinist in tailoring whilst her elder sister, Maggie Jane, was a dressmaker.
At what point Roberta went to work at Gretna has not been found but she had the clock number 16046.
On March 27 1917, in the early hours of the morning within N/G HillNo4, Broomhills at H.M. Factory Gretna an explosion took place, which resulted in Roberta’s death. A number of other workers also were injured but none fatally.
A plot was purchased in St Michael’s Cemetery, Dumfries on 28 March and Roberta was laid to rest on 31 March 1917. At a later date, her headstone was engraved ‘died in the service of her country’ and then underneath ‘Erected by fellow workers and friends – HM Factory Gretna’.
The Ministry of Munitions records indicate that £100 compensation was paid to the family. Surprisingly, Roberta’s name appears on not one but two war memorials. One in Gretna Parish Church and on the main Dumfries War Memorial.
To see Roberta Robertson’s commemoration on a local war memorial click here:
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Websites about the individual:
Additional information supplied through Research Project led by Nigel Crompton.