WW1 The Rogers Brothers

Jack Henry Rogers. 15 July 1915. (Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19150715-41-2)

When Walter H F Rogers and his wife Sarah Teresa (nee Johnson) moved to New Zealand about 1901, they lived at 53 Brighton Road, Parnell, then at 9 Middleton Road, Remuera. They had married in 1889 in North Fitzroy, near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and had three sons, who were born and educated in Australia.

All three sons fought in the First World War; they were: –

Jack Henry Rogers (14/62, 15155, 402605)
William Edward Rogers (13/3071)
Frank Thomas Rogers (55161) (1896 – 1918)

The New Zealand Herald 17 May 1918 published the following about Walter Rogers, his sons and their contribution to the First World War:

“Fighting Families – three Auckland brothers
A good record of service has been established by the sons of Mr. W. Rogers, of Brighton Road, Parnell. Private F. T. Rogers, the third son, who left with the twenty-eighth reinforcements, has been killed in action. The second son, Private W. E. Rogers, left with the ninth reinforcements, and has recently returned badly wounded. Sergeant J. H. Rogers, his eldest son, left with the Main Body. He was wounded twice at Gallipoli, and, after the ‘evacuation, went to France’ where he was again wounded twice. He was recently awarded the Military Medal After recovering from his last wound he returned to France. All three soldiers were born and educated in Australia”. [1]

Jack Henry Rogers (14/62, 15155, 402605) MM, the eldest son, born in 1894 served in both the First and Second World Wars.  He enlisted on 10 August 1914, was described as 5ft 7 ¾ inches (171 cm) tall with brown hair and brown eyes.  He sailed on the vessel ‘Waimana’ on 16 October 1914 arriving on 3 December 1914 at Suez, Egypt.  He was a Driver with the, New Zealand Army Service Corps, Divisional Train, Main Body. The Divisional Train was part of the supply train or supply column that provided links from the Army Service Corps (ASC) to the units at the Front.

Jack was stationed in Egypt. He was transferred to the Dardanelles for four months from June 1915, to September 1915 when he returned to Egypt.

In April 1916 he was sent to the Western Front in France where in Armentieres, in August 1916, he was disciplined with nine months’ imprisonment with hard labour for being absent without leave and disobeying a command.  He was admitted to No 1 Military Prison, Rouen about 19th or 20th August 1916 and was released 21 January 1917, his sentence was suspended and eventually revoked on 11 May 1918.

Jack rejoined 1st Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment, then sent to assist with railway construction, until 14 April 1917 when he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was sent to the New Zealand Division in the field and then rejoined his unit 1stBattalion Auckland Regiment at the end of January 1918.

On 30 April 1918 Jack was awarded the Military Medal for an act of gallantry in the field, Somme, France.  In June 1918 he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2 and then Company Sergeant-Major

He married Rosie Victoria Rogers (nee Bush) on 24 December 1918 in England. Jack was discharged from the Army in January 1919 and on their return to New Zealand, they lived at 45 Tohunga Crescent, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. They had two children; Joyce Eileen Rogers born in 1919 and Frank Bernard Rogers born in 1923 (WWII 619162) but was killed in 1945 in Italy during World War Two.

Jack was awarded the following Medals for his military service in both World Wars:
Military Medal MM
Gallipoli Medallion
1914-1915 Star
British War Medal (1914-1920)
Victory Medal
War Medal 1939-1945
New Zealand Service Medal.

In World War Two Jack served in the military reserve then transferred to the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He died 24 June 1978 in Auckland.

William Edward Rogers (23/2273)

The second son, born on 10 May 1888 William Edward Rogers (23/2273), prior to enlistment, was employed as a tinsmith / plumber at Hardley and Hardley, a sheet metal business in Freeman’s Bay, Auckland. In 1912, he married Christina Rankin.

On 1 April 1916 he sailed to Suez, Egypt as a Rifleman, with the 5th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, E Company, New Zealand Rifle Brigade. William was transferred to France, until February 1918 when he was discharged from the Army as ‘No longer physically fit for war service’ and returned to New Zealand.

Soon after their return, William and Christina moved to Queensland, Australia. [1]

Frank Thomas Rogers (55161) (1896 – 1918)

Frank was the youngest son, who had enlisted on 9 February 1917.  He was a Clerk with the Defence Department in Auckland.  He had been a member of the Mt Eden Guards for nine months before enlisting.  Frank sailed on the vessel ‘Waitemata’ on 24 July 1917, arriving at Plymouth, England on 25 September 1917.  He was a Private with the 28th Reinforcements, E Company New Zealand Expeditionary Force. [1]

He spent two months training in England and then was sent to the Western Front, France in October 1917. He transferred as a Rifleman to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion, D Company.  He was Killed in Action on 2 May 1918 on the Somme and is buried at Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France, I. J. 21. [2; 3]

He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and Frank is remembered on the following memorials:
St Mary’s Cathedral Church. Parnell, Auckland
Parnell District School, Parnell, Auckland
Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories.


G Ralph
May 2020