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S04EP05: ‘The Lucky’ with Paul Roberts

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The Family Histories Podcast - 'The Lucky' with Paul Roberts (S04EP05)

In this fifth episode of Series Four, host Andrew meets former journalist now genealogist and author – Paul Roberts. He’ll be finding out how Paul got hooked on family history as a child, how his journalistic career has helped his research, and how the Great War Forum helped him understand military documents.

Listen to the episode

S04EP05 – 'The Lucky' with Paul Roberts The Family Histories Podcast

Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and others

The Life Story:
Sam Roberts

Paul has chosen to share with us, the life story of his First Cousin, 2x Removed – Sam Roberts.

Sam, born in Cove, Devon in 1895, became a Private in the Devonshire Regiment when ‘The Great War’ (World War One) broke out. He soon found himself in the trenches of the front line fighting against German soldiers. On the order to go over the top into ‘no man’s land’, Sam and his fellow soldiers were cut down by enemy fire.

Sam had been shot in the chest, but an incredible stroke of luck had saved his life – his army issue pocket book. This earned Sam the nickname ‘Lucky Sam’ amongst his regimental colleagues.

After many months of recuperation in hospital in London, he miraculously returned to the trenches as a Corporal, finding himself at The Somme. Sadly though for Sam, this time his luck had run out.

The Brick Wall:
James Arscott and Eliza Mitchell

It’s a mystery surrounding Paul’s First Cousin, 5x Removed that’s giving him a headache.

Retired Battle of Trafalgar veteran James Arscott (baptised in Teignmouth, Devon in 1784), died in Teignmouth on 27th September 1816 of ‘a burst blood vessel’. Whilst this detail from his death is recorded, it occurs some 21 years before compulsory certification of deaths in England and Wales began. What’s not known, is where James was buried.

Related to his death, within his Will there is a reference to a ring, which he bequeathed to an Eliza Mitchell who ‘hailed from Teignmouth’.

Despite Paul’s extensive investigative efforts, he has not been able to find James’ burial location, nor a reliable candidate for this Eliza Mitchell. Can you help?

If you think that you can help Paul with a research idea or a clue, then you can contact him at his website or alternatively, head over to our contact form and we’ll send your message on to him.

As Andrew offers some help, Paul is not too sure of what’s about to happen…


Episode Credits:
Series Four, Episode Five

  • Andrew Martin: Host & Producer
  • Paul Roberts: Guest
  • John Spike: Sándor Petőfi

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