ROUSE, Bertram

No.SD/103, Lance Corporal, Bertram ROUSE
Aged 22

11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 21st April 1916

Bertram Rouse was born in Soham (Newmarket Q2-1894 3B:521), son of Henry and Rachel ROUSE (née CLEMENTS).

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at Fountain Lane, Soham with his father Henry ROUSE [33] a blacksmith; his mother Rachel [32]; brothers William [8], Alec [4], Clement [2] and Edward [2 months]. All were born in Soham.

1911 census...Aged 16 he was a servant, domestic waiter, with John and Sarah RIDDOCK at 71 Royal Parade, Eastbourne His parents were at High Street, Soham with his brothers William (blacksmith), Alec (errand boy for father), Clement, Edward and Ernest [7] and Reginald, also sister Eva [2] and widowed grandmother Sarah CLEMENT [79]. All the new children were Soham born.

His brother Clement, who had served in the East Surrey Regiment, died at home from his wounds in 1915.
see here

He enlisted in Eastbourne on 19th September 1914, giving his age as 20 years 162 days, a waiter living at 71 Royal Parade, Eastbourne. Born in Soham, next of kin his father Henry and brother William Henry at High Street, Soham. He was 5 feet 3.25 inches (160.6 cm)tall, weighed 119.5 lbs (54.2 kg), chest 33" to 36" (83.8 to 91.4 cm). He was brown eyed, brown hair and a Congregationalist.
Posted to the 11th Royal Sussex he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 4th October 1915 and arrived in the British Expeditionary Force on 4th March 1916.

The 11th Royal Sussex were in trenches at Givenchy on 21st April 1916. The war diary has a short entry:-
"There were intermittent artillery duels throughout the day. At 4 pm 2nd Lieut FW BATTLEY and 2 men were killed by a rifle grenade at DUCKS BILL and one man wounded"
It goes on to say Lt Battley was buried the next morning in Givenchy Cemetery. From CWGC records it seems all three men were buried at the same time in the same cemetery, the only three from the battalion that day.

Local press report, May 5, 1916:-
Lance-Corporal Bertram Rouse, second son of Mr. and Mrs.Henry Rouse, of High Street. He enlisted almost at the outbreak of war in the 11th Royal Sussex Regiment and had been at the front about two months.Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents, who about a year ago were informed of the death of another soldier son, Pte.Clem Rouse of the East Surrey Regiment. The following letter has been received by them from the Officer Commanding:-
"I beg to offer you my deepest sympathy in the loss of your son, who was killed in action on Good Friday. He was standing outside my dug-out talking to an officer, Mr.Battley, and Pte.Diplock. All were struck by a German rifle grenade and killed immediately. I lose in your gallant son a N.C.O. who was always thoroughly reliable and brave, and the whole Company mourn the loss of a thoroughly good and competent soldier. He suffered no pain whatever. The only consolation I can offer you in your great bereavement is that he died doing his duty, loved and respected by all...... "
A fellow soldier writes:-
"...he was my greatest personal friend, and no-one can sympathise with you more in this your second great bereavement since the beginning of the war. By his officers and superior N.C.O's, the same as by the men, he was loved and respected. There was never an occasion, however dark and difficult, when our little Billie could not find a bright spot and say the word to cheer us all on...On behalf of all his comrades, I send you our most heartfelt sympathy".

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bertram Rouse is buried in Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, grave 3:Q:4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details