Milborne Port

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poppy1On Thursday 9th November at 6pm the bellringers of St John's will commemorate the life of:

Ptolemy ROSKILLY died 09.11.1917
168th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

Gunner Roskilly was 38 years old when he died of wounds in November 1917. He is buried at Wimereaux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais. It is impossible to say where or in what action he sustained his wimereauxinjuries, as Wimereaux had a large hospital complex and took casualties from a wide area of the front. Given the date of his death, it is most likely he was injured in the latter stages of the Battle of Passchendaele which started in the late summer of 1917 and coincided with one of the wettest autumns on record. The constant bombardment of the Passchendaele Ridge had severely damaged the watercourses so, with the constant rain, the ground became a quagmire and countless men, horses and equipment just disappeared.

19th century census records show that Ptolemy's father, Thomas, came from Closworth and his mother, Elizabeth, from Montacute. They married in 1866, lived in Yeovil for a short time before settling in Milborne Port, at Furlong Cottage on Coombe Hill. They had nine children of whom seven survived, Ptolemy being the fifth. Thomas worked as a leather dresser and Elizabeth as a dressmaker.

The 1901 Census shows Ptolemy living in Bath and working as a clerk possibly for a stone contractor. The next census, 1911, shows him still as a clerk but living in Aldershot where in September 1914 he married Barbara Walden.

Thomas and Elizabeth Roskilly remained in the village until their deaths – Elizabeth in 1918 and Thomas in 1927.   Barbara Roskilly never remarried and died, in Bournemouth, in 1973.

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