T1/3190 Driver Francis Henry Rogers, Army Service Corps Horse Transport
Born on 3rd June 1876 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 9th February 1959 in Little Gaddesden
Francis Henry (Frank) Rogers was born in Little Gaddesden, the second of the 6 children of Edwin Amos Rogers and Mary Ann née Meager. He was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 6th August 1876. His father was a Labourer, later a Painter and Glazier.
Frank’s siblings were:
- Elizabeth Ann, born in 1874
- Albert, born in 1878 but died as an infant
- Emily, born in 1879
- Eliza, born 12th October 1881
- Rosina, born 28th October 1883
The 1881 Census gives the family’s address as “Village”, Little Gaddesden. From the position of the entry, this is very likely to have been 3 Little Gaddesden. His father was a Painter and Glazier and his mother as a Straw Plaiter. 6 year old Elizabeth and 4 year old Francis were at school; Emily was aged 1.
Frank attended Little Gaddesden School. By the time he was 11 years old, he had time out of school to work, which was then common practice. On 20th July 1887, the School Log Book records that:
A number of boys who have passed their 4th Standard are required to go to work on the Home Farm for an indefinite time. We have sent Albert Fountain, George Hawkins, Frank Rogers and Arthur Wibden who are in attendance at school, as well as a number of others who have received their Labour Certificates. This is, no doubt, pleasing to the children and satisfactory to the parents but, at the same time, hard going to the school and disheartening to the teachers.
However, on 1st August, he returned to school until the start of the Harvest Holiday. When school resumed on 12th September:
The following boys have had their names taken off the School Registers, having received their Labour Certificates and gone to work – George Hawkins, Francis Rogers, Arthur Wibden, George Austin and Charles Hucklesby.
Frank’s work did not last long; he was back at school for the winter from 3rd October. The following summer, he worked again and again returned to school in October. It is not clear when he finally left school.
By April 1891, Frank Rogers was a 14 year old General Labourer. He then lived at 13 Little Gaddesden with his parents and younger sisters Emily, 11, Eliza, 9 and Rosina, 7, who were all at school. However, by March 1901, the family had moved to 33 Little Gaddesden and Frank, 24, worked as a Painter. His father was still a Painter and Glazier while his sisters Elizabeth, 26 and Eliza, 19 were both Domestic Housemaids. 17 year old Rosina was a Domestic Nurse.
On 12th October 1901, Francis Henry Rogers, married Mary Jane Shatford at St Mary’s Church, Weekley, Northamptonshire. Francis, 25, was a Carpenter and son of Edwin Amos Rogers, also a Carpenter. Mary Jane, 40, was the daughter of Abraham Shatford, Labourer.
The 1911 Census shows them living at Caison (or Chase End) Hill, Bromesberrow, Ledbury, Gloucestershire, where Frank worked as a Domestic Gardener.
The Rogers Family in 1911 3
In the 1911 Census, Frank’s parents and his two youngest sisters, Eliza, a Laundry Maid, and Rosina, a General Domestic Servant, were still living at 33 Little Gaddesden. Frank’s father was by then a Carpenter, which supports the information recorded for him on Frank’s Marriage Register entry.
Military Service 8
Frank Rogers enlisted into the Army Service Corps at Birmingham on 15th August 1914, to serve for the duration of the War. He was 5 feet 1 inch tall, weighed 112 pounds and had a 36 inch chest. He was previously a Gardener employed by the Reverend R.F. Fairburn of Temple Balsall, Knowle, Warwickshire. His address is shown as 33 Little Gaddesden and his father Edwin Amos, not his wife Mary Jane, is named as his next of kin. It seems, therefore, that Mary Jane had died or the marriage had ended before August 1914.
Frank Rogers served as a Driver in the Horse Transport section of the Army Service Corps. His Service Number was T1/3190.
On 14th November 1915, he embarked aboard the SS Olympic at Liverpool, sailing to Mudros on the island of Lemnos, which they reached on 23rd November. After transfer to the Abbessieh, they sailed for Salonika, arriving on 25th November. Frank then joined No. 2 Company, 22nd Divisional Train, Army Service Corps. The division was involved in the Battle of Horseshoe Hill between 10th and 18th August 1916 and the Battle of Machukovo on 13th and 14th September 1916.
Treatment for Malaria 8
However, on 16th September 1916, Frank was hospitalised with Malaria. He was first treated in the 4th Canadian General Hospital in Salonika, then transferred aboard HMHS Dover Castle to Tigne Hospital, Malta, where he arrived on 2nd October. A fortnight later he was transferred to the Ghain Tuffieha Convalescent Hospital, Malta, before being invalided to England, first aboard HMHS Grantully Castle, then on the Hospital Ship Aquitania. Frank arrived back in England on 27th December and was then treated in Edmonton Hospital, London until 7th April 1917.
On 16th October 1917, Frank was posted to 555 Company Army Service Corps, a Horse Transport Company which formed part of the 69th (2nd East Anglian) Division and was involved in Home Service. However, he suffered further attacks of Malaria in April and November 1918. Frank was then admitted to the Ripon Malaria Centre on 25th November 1918, remaining there until 16th January 1919. He was then still suffering from weakness, slight disordered action of the heart and debility. On 18th February 1919 Frank was demobilised and transferred to Class Z Reserve. Then, as the result of 20% disablement caused by Malaria contracted in the field, he was granted a weekly allowance of 5 shillings and 6 pence per week for 52 weeks. For his War Service, Frank was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
A Second Marriage 13
In the final Quarter of 1917, Francis Henry Rogers married Lily Attenborough in Mansfield. The 1911 Census shows that Lily was the Cook in the household of the Reverend R.F. Fairburn of Temple Balsall, Knowle, Warwickshire. That was also the household in which Frank was employed as a Gardener when he enlisted in August 1914.
Men who have answered their Country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Frank Rogers, Army Service Corps 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 Centenary Revision of the Roll his unit has been recorded more specifically as Army Service Corps Horse Transport. His cousin William Rogers, Canadian Infantry, who was awarded the Military Medal and Bar, is also named on both Rolls.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
On demobilisation, Frank Rogers returned to Little Gaddesden and moved with Lily to 39 Ashridge Park, now part of Cherry Tree Cottage, Alderton Drive. Their son Francis Edward (Ted) Rogers was then born on 28th November 1919
Frank and Lily’s Foster Sons 15
In “A Century Remembered” May Sears, wife of Frank’s Foster Son Tim, relates the story of their upbringing. Information in square brackets has been found from further research:
Thomas George and Frederick Charles [Charles Frederick] Sear came to Little Gaddesden in 1920 when Tom was eight years old and Fred five. They were born in Berkhamsted. Their father was Alfred [Edgar] Sear and their mother Florence Proctor, both from Marsworth. Their parents died in the First World War, their father was a regular soldier and their mother a straw plaiter who became ill and died… They were sent to Dr Barnardo’s Home in Essex…
Luckily they weren’t there very long. Mr Francis Rogers and his wife decided to foster them. They already had a young son Edward (Ted) They lived in the Park. Next door was Mr William Munden and his wife. It was the second pair of cottages from Ringshall, and many years later became Cherry Tree Cottage… one house. They settled down very well with the Rogers family and loved living in the Park. Somehow their name got changed from Sear to Sears, and Thomas was always called Tim.
The Church Verger 15
From an account in “A Century Remembered” by May Sears, wife of Frank’s Foster Son Tim:
Tim was sent to the shop (Pratt’s) to get candles for the church. He was very small for his age and found a bundle of the large candles very heavy. Frankie used to walk through the Park to the Bridgewater Arms, cross the road to continue across Bridgewater Meadow to the Bede Houses and on to the church on Friday nights to light the boiler furnace under the church, and Tim would go with him for company. They would go again on Saturday nights, often in a blizzard, to try to get the church warm for Sunday. Mrs Pratt always grumbled that the church was cold. We children used to like to stand where there were gratings where the warm air came through from below. Of course there were oil lamps to fill too, and candles to replace. It was never warm all over, being such a large place.
Watching for Mr Rogers 16
In “The Ashridge Estate and Little Gaddesden 1915 – 1955”, Doris Fenn, described this Sunday morning routine when staying with her uncle and aunt, Harry and Eliza Temple, at No 27 Little Gaddesden. Frank was, in fact, Verger rather than Church Warden:
On Sunday mornings, I always had to be at the small bedroom window, to watch for Mr Rogers to come through the Park Gate. He was rather short, well dressed, and his brisk walk and happy expression gave the impression that he rather enjoyed being the Church Warden [Verger] and ringing the Church bells to call people to worship. He was a foster parent, and always acknowledged my looking after him, and probably knew I had let Uncle know he must soon leave for Church. Being in the choir, Uncle had to put on his cassock in the vestry, before taking his place in the choir stalls next to the pulpit.
By 1930, Electoral Registers show Frank and Lily living at 2 Ashridge Cottages, Little Gaddesden. However, Frank’s second wife Lily died in January 1932 when their son Ted Rogers was aged 12.
The Second World War 4
The 1939 Register shows Frank Rogers and his son Ted living at 3 Little Gaddesden with Frank’s cousin Alice, the sister of William Rogers. Frank was a Garden Labourer, Alice a Seamstress and Ted Rogers a Butcher and Provisions Shop Warehouse Man.
In May 1940, Frank Rogers volunteered for the Home Guard, first known as the Local Defence Volunteers. He is named on P.C. Parker’s hand-written list as an original member of No. 3 Section, based at the Golf Club.
Other First World War veterans who were members of the No 5, Little Gaddesden, Platoon of B Company, 7th Hertfordshire Battalion, Home Guard included: Albert Boarder, Walter Bunn, Donald Goodman, Horace Halsey, Joe Hing, Harry Hucklesby, Sidney (Jubal) Jones, John Mayling, Arthur Maunders, William Newman, Edwin Purton, Reginald Purton and Edward Saunders.
The Platoon also contained young men, most of whom were subsequently called up for military service. Among these were George Halsey, son of Horace Halsey; Leonard Hing son of Lewis Hing; Raymond Hing, son of Joe Hing; Fred Hucklesby, son of Harry Hucklesby; Fred Liberty, son of George Liberty; John Oakins son of Steve Oakins; Gordon and Maurice Purton sons of Reginald Purton and Arthur Whitman son of James Whitman and named after his uncle Arthur Whitman.
In Capt. Alan St H Brock’s book, “7th Hertfordshire Battalion Home Guard, a History of the Battalion 1940-44”, Francis Henry Rogers is named on the Supplementary List for B Company, which showed men who had served in the Home Guard for a while but were not still serving when the Battalion was stood down in December 1944. As men were allowed to serve until the age of 65, which Frank would have reached in 1941, it is probable that he was subsequently discharged on grounds of his age.
Death of his son Ted 20
On 25th July 1943, Frank’s son 5950504 Private Francis Edward (Ted) Rogers, 5th Battalion the Suffolk Regiment, died of Beri Beri aged 23, while a Prisoner of War in Thailand. His Battalion had disembarked at Singapore on 29th January 1942 just two weeks before Singapore surrendered. Ted spent the next 17 months as a Prisoner of War of the Japanese. He was, however, moved to Thailand, where he worked on the Thai/Burma Railway. He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial and on the Little Gaddesden War Memorials.
Frank Rogers lived at 3 Little Gaddesden for the rest of his life. He died on 9th February 1959 aged 84. Four days later, his funeral service was held at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden, where he is buried in the new churchyard.
2. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
6. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
15. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge
16. Fenn, Doris, 1996, The Ashridge Estate and Little Gaddesden 1915 – 1955, Mike Kearney DeskTop Publishing
17. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1932, 1959
18. Police Constable Parker’s list of Little Gaddesden’s Local Defence Volunteers, compiled in May 1940
19. ed. Brock, Capt. Alan St H, (1945?) 7th Hertfordshire Battalion Home Guard. A History of the Battalion 1940-44
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson