Michael was the elder son of Joseph and Mary Roach of Inverell. He was a Miner at Copeton when, at the age of twenty two, he enlisted at Armidale in October 1916. He joined the 13th Battalion, 23rd Reinforcement and left Australia on the ship HMAT A72 Beltana in November 1916. After arriving in England in mid January 1917 further training took place until he was sent to France in March. During October 1917 he was promoted to Corporal.
Corporal Michael Roach was badly wounded when hit in the shoulder, arm and leg near Hamel, France and died of his wounds on 5 July 1918. He was buried at Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-Sur-Somme, France. His personal effects were returned to his Father and included a pocket book, postcards, opera glasses, wallet and notebook.
At Inverell Corporal Roach has his name inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll and Cenotaph. During 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell. His name is also recorded on the Copeton Roll of Honor.