Private Ernest Walter Rogers, 25918 Bedfordshire Regiment, later 26067 Suffolk Regiment and 39961 Essex Regiment
Born on 30th March 1892 in Dagnall
Died on 11th February 1942 at New Granary, Roydon Rural District, Essex
Walter Ernest Rogers was born in Dagnall, Buckinghamshire, the sixth of the 7 children of Thomas Rogers and Elizabeth née Astling. Though named Walter Ernest at birth and in childhood records, he was always called Ernest; his name is often recorded as Ernest Walter in adult life, for example in his Army Service Record.
His siblings were:
- Ethel Mary, born in 1881
- Sidney Rowland Rogers, born 1st March 1883
- George Henry, born in 1885 but died aged 22
- Albert, born 21st August 1887
- Alfred, born 24th March 1890
- Nellie Winifred, born in 1896
On 8th April 1895, the Little Gaddesden School Log Book records that Ernest’s older brothers George and Alfred started at Little Gaddesden School; the family had come to live at Hudnall. Then, on 26th April 1897, Ernest started school as an Infant aged 5 years.
On 1st May 1889, the family left Hudnall for Luton. However, they returned from Luton on 9th April 1900 when Albert, Alfred and Ernest were re-admitted to the school.
The 1901 Census shows the family living at 12 Ringshall. Ernest’s father was a Farm Horse Keeper (Carter). His brother George, 16, was a Farm Ploughman while Albert, 13, was a Domestic Gardener’s Boy. Alfred, 11, Ernest, 9 and Winifred, 4, were all at school. However, Ernest’s 18 year old brother Sidney Rogers lived at the Butcher’s Shop, Hudnall, where he worked as Slaughterman for Mr Fred Janes, the Butcher.
A Reluctant Scholar 5
Ernest’s attendance at school was not good; his name was taken down by the Attendance Officer on 23rd April 1902. The Log Book for 16th February 1903 then records:
I have marked Ernest Rogers (St. 2) sick since last Monday: his mother said (sent word) this morning he was sick. I find he was driving (a) cart last Saturday & is doing the same thing today. I have sent a message to his mother.
The following day’s entry notes: “Ernest Rogers at School this morning looking very well.” However, on 21st May 1903 he was cautioned for absence. Then, on 15th July, the Attendance Officer sent a notice to his parents and on 20th October he was cautioned again. However, on 23rd October 1903 Ernest Rogers (St.4) and Winifred Rogers (Inft.) left the neighbourhood.
Then, on 22nd February 1904, Ernest and Winifred again joined Little Gaddesden School; they had attended Great Gaddesden School since October 1903.
On 1st February 1st 1905, Ernest Rogers, Standard 4 was one of ten children examined for their Labour Certificate which, if they passed, enabled them to leave school and go out to work. He passed, as did 7 others including Albert Bierton, Sidney Hart, Walter Bunn and Reginald Purton. On 13th February 1905, Ernest Rogers, Standard 4, left Little Gaddesden School with a Certificate of Proficiency. He was then 12 years 10 months old and must have been a capable pupil, if not an enthusiastic one.
The 1911 Census shows 19 year old Walter Ernest Rogers working as a Farm Labourer. He still lived at home, by then 4 Ringshall, with his parents and siblings. His brother Alfred, 21, also worked as a Farm Labourer while Nellie Winifred, 14, was at home with her mother. However, Ernest’s brother Sidney Rogers lived at 16 Little Gaddesden and worked as a Coachman at the Bridgewater Arms Hotel while Albert, a Metropolitan Police Officer, lived in the parish of St John at Hackney.
On 10th December 1915, Ernest Walter Rogers, a Farm Labourer (Stableman) of 4 Ringshall attested at Watford to serve for the duration of the War. He was 23 years and 9 months old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 164 pounds.
Ernest was initially appointed to the Bedfordshire Regiment as a Private, Service Number 25918. However, on 10th February 1916, he was called up into the 1st Reserve (Garrison) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, Service Number 26067. That battalion was formed at Wendover. It then moved to Tilbury in May 1916 and Gravesend in June 1916. The Battalion carried out guard, escort and similar duties and detachments were soon established in a number of British locations.
However, from October 1917, Ernest was destined for overseas service with the 1st Garrison Battalion, Essex Regiment, which formed part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He served as a Private, Service Number 39961. He embarked for Egypt at Southampton on 16th October and disembarked at Alexandria on 1st November 1917. Then, on 18th November, he reported to the Battalion at Khartoum. The article “1st Essex Garrison Battalion Brief History” notes that, in January 1918, the Battalion moved to Tewfik (Suez Canal) and then to Jerusalem via Kantara, Ludd and Lydd. In Jerusalem their duty included the protection of Jerusalem railway station and line.
Ernest’s Service record contains an entry dated 26th May 1918 which notes that he was granted a week’s compassionate furlough to the UK. During this time, on 8th June 1918, he married Daisy Putman at Luton Register Office. Daisy’s address was 52 Dumfries Street, Luton. Their son Leslie Walter Rogers was born on 18th May 1918.
Parts of Ernest’s Service Record are hard to read, but he was certainly back in Alexandria, Egypt by 13th August 1918. However, that is the date the entry was written; the page corner noting his arrival date is missing. He subsequently re-joined his Battalion in Jerusalem, moving on to Port Said before embarking for Salonika in October 1918. Ernest’s record then notes that, on 12th December 1918, he embarked for Scutari, Albania. From January 1919, the Battalion was part of the allied garrison at Scutari, where it remained until demobilisation later that year. Ernest is shown as an Absent Voter of 4 Ringshall in Spring 1919 but had been demobilised and was living in Dagnall by Autumn 1919. For his War Service, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Men who have answered their Country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Ernest Rogers is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. On the original Roll, he is shown in the Suffolk Regiment, in which he served from February 1916. On the Centenary Revision of the Roll, his Battalion has been added. Ernest’s brother Sidney Rogers, 9th Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment, is also named on both Rolls.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
After the War, Ernest and Daisy lived in Dagnall, where they had 6 more children: Brian, who died as an infant, born in 1920; Phyllis, born 5th May 1921; Dorothy, born 26th October 1922; Molly, born in 1926; David, born 3rd May 1930, Anthony John, born 11th July 1932 and George, born in 1934.
The 1939 Register shows Ernest and Daisy living at 4 Council Houses, Dagnall. Ernest was a Brick Moulder while Daisy had “Unpaid Domestic Duties”. Phyllis worked as an Ironer at a Laundry, David was at school and 3 other entries remain closed.
Ernest died aged 49 in February 1942. The information on his Death Certificate shows that he was found on 11th February 1942 at New Granary, Roydon Rural District, Essex, having died of a coronary occlusion. The informant was A Allen of 28 Church Road, Studham, who found him. The 1939 Register shows that A Allen was Arthur Allen, a Brick Maker. It is likely, therefore, that he worked with Ernest. Daisy remained in Dagnall until her death aged 51 in 1944.
5. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
10. 1918-21 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Great Berkhamsted Rural
13. Copy (pdf) of the Death Certificate of Ernest Walter Rogers of 4 Council Houses, Dagnall
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson