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Rogers, Edgar

Edgar was one of two brothers who were in the same battle, (see Douglas Rogers’ page on this website).

On the 1901 census the family was living at the Police Station, Lapley, Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire where the father William Rogers was a Police Constable. He was 44 and had been born in Bradley, Staffordshire.  His wife Mary  37 was a dressmaker who had been born at Tipton, Staffordshire.  They had 6 sons and 2 daughters, Ann 6, Gladys 3 and  Gregory 1 had  all been born in Wheaton Aston. The 5 other sons were Rowland 14 a “Horse Driver On Farm”  who had been born in Cannock, Staffordshire, Horace 11 was born in Mayfield, Staffordshire, twins Douglas and Percy10, were born in Endon, as was Edgar who was  9.   Also living with them was Ann Harrison a Sister-In-Law who was single, 27 and had been born in Tipton Staffordshire.

By the 1911 census they had moved again to live at 5, Wilson St., Stoke – on – Trent, Staffordshire. By then William was a Police Pensioner 54, with his wife of 25 years, Mary Maria 47. Her occupation was described as ‘home duties’. They had 8 children. Rowland, Percy and Horace were not at home, but the rest of the children were there.  Douglas was 20 and single. He was listed as a  “Loco Dept Rly Co Pass Fireman”, Edgar 19 and single was a “Letter Press Printer”. Daughter Ann  16  helped in “Home Duties”, Gladys  13 and Gregory  11 were both at school.

The Niece of the Rogers brothers, Mary Moore, recounted to me the family story of what happened to her uncles.

“On the day in August 1914, war was declared, they were living in Shotton and when they heard the parade, some of the boys rushed in to see their Father William, saying,

” If we don’t go now Pa, we would miss it!”. A friend from Staffordshire, Ted Titley was staying with them and he said that he would go too, as he wanted to be with the boys. They joined up and they had consecutive regimental numbers.

Four of the brother’s were at Gallipoli  as well as Ted Titley, their friend, who survived the war.  (Ted was to return frequently to visit the family and even wrote out a Flintshire WW1 Index Card (Shotton L258) which he filled out himself and signed on the 4th January 1921.   He actually wrote his Regimental No. wrongly, writing it as 12785 which was Douglas’s number.  He was a Sgt. Major and served for 4 1/2 years).

Edgar and Douglas  went over the top on that fateful day, 7th August 1915.   Their brother Rowland, a Quartermaster, later to be promoted “in the field” to Regimental Quartermaster was in the trenches, looking after the munitions and stores.

.Percy’s role that day is unclear. (He was Douglas’s twin)

When the fighting was over, Rowland went to look for his brothers.  He found Douglas who had been fatally bayoneted. Rowland was told that Edgar had seen him being injured, had gone to help him and was bayoneted himself  and  had been carried away to the Hospital Ship, (Delta), where he died and was buried the next day at sea.   Rowland helped bury Douglas and buried him with an Officer, Captain Walter Lloyd from the Plas Hafod near Mold, who had died beside Douglas. Rowland wrapped them up and buried them together.   Captain Lloyd’s name is on a memorial in Gwernaffield Church.  When their bodies were recovered to be re-interred, they were buried near to each other.  Douglas and Edgar died on the same day.  

 Their parents were told of their deaths, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, their mother Mary Maria said that thousand’s of families were getting these letters and they had to carry on.

Both brothers are commemorated on a family grave in St. Deniol’s Churchyard, Hawarden (North Extension West Side   G 19). Description – White marble cross on a three stepped base with double kerbs. Flat marble base inside kerbs. Lead lettering. The inscription lists a number of family members and includes ..

ALSO DOUGLAS & EDGAR ROGERS  WHO FELL IN ACTION AT GALLIPOLI,  AUGUST 7th 1915, AGED 24 & 23 YEARS UNTIL THE DAY DAWNS.

They are also remembered on a marble tablet, oval shaped tablet with gold lettering  in St Ethelwold’s Church Shotton. The inscription says …

Sacred to the memory of Lce Corpls DUGLAS  & EDGAR ROGERS aged 24 and 23 years  8th Batt R.W.F. who fell in Action at the Dardanelles  August 7th 1915 “Fight the good fight”  R.I.P.

(Underneath is another plaque that was erected by the family of Harry Bullock who also died in this war. He’d  just been 18 years old.  Mrs. Rogers used to look after the 2 plaques, referring to Harry as “Young Harry” (according to Great Niece Mary Moore)   Harry had been shot as he slept in the trenches and has his own page on this website).

Edgar was also  named  the Hawarden War Memorial 

Hospital Ship Delta  was used to transport wounded from the Dardanelles. Repatriated troops to Australia. Known to have been at Cape Helles a few days after the first landings. Later scrapped in 1929. I have a list of the Soldiers who were on the Hospital Ship Delta 7th August 1915, List Transcribed: January – June, 2001 by Jackie Walles, New Zealand.   Please get in touch if you want any names.

There is an index card for Edgar in the Flintshire Roll of Honour at the County Record Office in Hawarden  (WW1 Index Cards   F 36 Shotton) –  The regimental details above are confirmed. The regimental numbers of the brothers were consecutive.   The address given was 9, Salisbury Street, Shotton, Nr. Chester.   It adds that he served from 31st August 1914 and that he was  Killed in Action at Gallipoli  on the 7th August 1915.  The card was signed  on the 19th January 1920 by Wm. Rogers. (On the same day he signed his other son Douglas’s Card.)

Edgar Rogers in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the sole Legatee was his father William who was paid £4. 19s 0d on the 19th November 1915 and his War Gratuity of £3 on the 25th July 1919.

UK soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 -19, accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms the regimental information above and adds that Edgar enlisted in Shotton. Edgar’s medal card also accessible on ancestry, records his medal details and also tells us that his first theatre of war was the Balkans and that he entered it on 28th June 1915.

Douglas and Edgar are mentioned in the article below. It was an  article which was in an unknown  newspaper given to me by a friend. It must have been  an edition near Christmas, as on the bottom, in an advert, was “Christmas Greetings” in large and fancy font.   If anyone can identify this paper, please contact me.   It was probably from the  mid 60’s, November or December editions.

8TH BAT. ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS

MEMORIES OF FIFTY YEARS AGO

From Llandsul, Cardigan, comes this letter from “Curly” Davies, who was blinded fifty years ago, to Mr. W. Brown, 96, Chester Road, Shotton.

“It is now fifty years since the 8th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers went on Christmas leave.   We were then stationed at Draycott Camp, Chisledon, Wilts.   We had joined up at the outbreak of World War 1 and had been immediately formed into a battalion to do our “square bashing” on Salisbury Plain.

Of course we were part of Kitchener’s 1st hundred thousand and at first the going was pretty hard.   We included a large number of Deeside lads; also a lot of Welshmen from both North and South Wales, and I could reminisce for hours about those wonderfully happy days.

One episode, however, remains vividly with me.   If my memory serves me rightly, Christmas Day 1914 fell on a Tuesday, and we of “B” Company went on leave on the previous Friday to join our families and sweethearts for Christmas .   In spite of it being a grey and dismal day we were in high spirits as we strode briskly and carefree to Chrisledon to catch our trains.   Arrived at the station, everything seemed plain sailing but it was not to be for a few of us.   The ticket inspector would not let us through on account of errors in out travelling warrants.   Mine had originally been made out for a namesake of mine travelling to an entirely destination.   (Incidentally, that merchant was serving a term in clink).   However, after producing envelopes bearing our address etc., we were let through as bone-fide.   For all this embarrassment and inconvenience I had to thank Coy. Colour Sergeant who, instead of making out a fresh warrant form had crossed the original name on the miswritten one out and slung it at me after filling my name underneath.   He glared at me murderously, and became raving mad when I gave him my Welsh address which contained a couple of double “lls” and “chs” (sic).   Being English, he could not pronounce them.

A hoarse whisper in my ear asked if I would take care of his kitbag for a few minutes.   Turning round I recognised my Platoon mate, D.O. bending over his kitbag he whipped out a cloth cap and mac, slipped them on and walked out of the station without batting an eyelid.   Returning after a short absence he strode on the platform as unabashed as he had walked off it, with his mac collar turned up and the peak of his cap pulled down over his eyes.   His voice now as clear as a bell and he had pronounces beer breath.   The mac and the civvy cap had helped him get into the “Royal Oak” which was out of bounds to the troops so early in the evening.   He stood over his bag again, divested himself of his civvy outfit and stood erect as a smart young soldier.   The platform lights made his cap badge, overcoat buttons and shoulder badge glitter.   He held two fingers up to indicate with a broad grin that he had swallowed a couple of pints.   When the next train drew in the North Walians, including the Deesiders, piled i to it, my friend with the beer breath shook my habd and with a mischievous wink pulled the window up.   I never saw him again.

We South Walians (sic) left by a later train to catch a west bound train at Swindon, where we were joined by Welsh boys from other regiments.   There were also many civilians who gave us cigarettes, chocolates, newspapers and magazines etc.   Someone struck up a Welsh hymn and in no time the whole station was full of music which brought the tears to many of the civilian eyes.

Among the lads who fell on August 7th 1915 were E. Rogers, D.Rogers, R. Morris, A. Glendenning, Bill Smith all of whom died on Gallipoli that fateful morning.   Among other names that come to mind are those of Capt. Billy Brown, B.Coy. orderly room clerk, George Preece, G. Alcock, H. Cook, Parkin, 99 jones, J. Peters, J. Boukley, A. leighton, Tommy Redfern(the regimental barber), and others too numerous to mention, although we must not forget dear old “Llanrwst.”

We left Pirbright camp in June 1915, and sailed on the White Star liner “Megantic” from Avonmouth (incidentally this was the ship on which Inspector Dew brought back Dr. Crippen from Canada after the memorable chase across the Atlantic in 1910).   As soon as we were safely embarked guards were mounted on all exits from the dock to prevent any last minute escapes.   Looking over the rail I noticed a young girl dressed in black being allowed on the quayside.   A few minutes later a Lce. Cpl. was running about calling Machine-gummer Dalinett.   The young lady had learned by chance that we were embarking that day and had requested to see her brother.   He was killed soon after starting lookout duty on out fist tour in the firing line.

The last beautiful sight I ever saw was on an evening at the beginning of August, 1915.   It was a bright moonlight night and I was standing near the “Eski Lines” from where I saw a hospital ship lying at anchor.   There was not a breath of air stirring and the only sounds were those of an occasional rifle shop from the far-off Turkish lines and the barking of a dog in Krithia.   I saw the hospital ship with a line of green and white lights along its side with a red cross at each end and one in the middle.   The sea shimmering in the moonlight like a large mirror – that sight will remain with me for the rest of my life.       A few days later, on August 7th, my sight was destroyed forever.   I have been cared for by St. Dunstan’s ever since and they have done a wonderful job of it.

Blessed be the memories of those who have passed on and my fondest regards to those who still survive.

Yours sincerely,

Curly Davies

7 Platoon, 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 1914- 1918

If you would like a copy of the War Diaries for the 8th Bn R.W.F. please contact the website or they can be seen on Ancestry.co.uk.

 


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