Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Arthur Llewellyn Roberts & Premature Senility

Arthur Llewellyn WWI
While sorting through some family history yesterday I came across Arthur. He was the husband of my 1st cousin 3x removed, Agnes Blair Oswald. 

Arthur was born Abt. 1866 and married in Wallsend, New South Wales in 1866. Arthur and Agnes had five children, two girls and three boys.

Arthur was a blacksmith by trade, so I imagine quite a handy fellow.

Arthur heard the call to arms on 28th February 1916 and as a blacksmith was posted to the 35th Battalion Reinforcements, 3rd Divisional Veterinary Section as a Substantive Farrier. He was 44 years and 1 month of age.

All went well for Arthur, he was posted to France and on 19th October 1916 was transferred to AAVC (Australian Army Veterinary Corps) as a "shoeing smith" and promoted to S/Smith Cpl on 10th January 1918.

Then on 10th June 1918 he was transferred to Dover and London Headquarters to proceed to Australia for discharge. What I found very interesting is the reason for his discharge - "Premature Senility". 

What had happened to Arthur in the previous six months? He was obviously fine in January when he was promoted. He was 46 years old at this time. Was he ''shell shocked"? Was he kicked in the head by a horse? We will never know the real reasons. Perhaps it was all too much for Arthur.

Arthur returned to Australia and lived a quiet life in Newcastle and died on 19th October 1942, aged 76. I hope that he recovered and enjoyed the rest of his life. He was listed in the electoral roll as a retired blacksmith.


  1. The consequences of war are so sad.

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  3. Arthur Llewelyn Roberts was my husbands great grandfather. He lowered his age so he could join the army as his son Robert Oswald Roberts had enlisted 6 days earlier. they were both blacksmiths from Wallsend. Robert Roberts was my husbands grandfather. Our family knows these stories but there has been no mention of senility so I imagine it was most likely post traumatic stress disorder which as we know was not well understood back then . The photo looks like His grandson Jack , the oldest son of Robert Oswald Roberts. Regards, Sue Roberts.