Benjamin Newby and Mary Cross had married in a civil ceremony registered at Stockport in 1891. Roy is thought to have been their only child. When the census was taken in 1901, the family was living at 30 Mauldeth Road, Heaton Mersey. Benjamin practiced as an architect and, in common with most middle class families of the day, he could afford to employ a live-in servant - 16 year old Annie Oldham.
Nothing is known of Roy's early life, except that he was a keen sportsman and fine athlete. When he had finished his education, he went to work at the offices of cotton good exporting firm, James Greaves & Co, in Ridgefield, Manchester. Almost certainly, he will have known James Sidebotham, another employee whose uncle owned the firm. As with many middle class young men, when he enlisted into the army at Manchester, he joined the Royal Fusiliers, his service number indicating that he was originally assigned to one of its "Public Schools" battalions. However, after his training, he was transferred to the 8th Battalion, possibly joining it as one of a draft of replacements prior to the opening of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.
At the beginning of October, Roy and his comrades were in the front line trenches near the village of Flers but were relieved on the evening of the 3rd. They moved a little way to the rear into the support line. Enemy shelling had been particularly heavy for several days and it continued all through the night and the next day. Roy was one of four men killed that day.