27677 Private Sidney Rowland Rogers, 9th & 8th Battalions, Bedfordshire Regiment
Born on 1st March 1883 in Dagnall
Died on 29th November 1948 in Chalkdell Hospital, Hitchin
Sidney Rowland Rogers was born in Dagnall, Buckinghamshire, the second of the 7 children of Thomas Rogers and Elizabeth née Astling. He was baptised Sydney Rowland at Dunstable Methodist Chapel on 17th May 1883.
His siblings were:
- Ethel Mary, born in 1881
- George Henry, born in 1885 but died aged 22
- Albert, born 21st August 1887
- Alfred, born 24th March 1890
- Walter Ernest Rogers, born 30th March 1892
- Nellie Winifred, born in 1896
The 1891 Census shows the family living at 2 Well Farm, Dagnall. Sidney’s father was then an Agricultural Labourer. Ethel, 10, Sidney, 8 and George, 6, were all at school while Albert, 3 and Alfred, 1 were at home with their mother and their maternal grandmother Mary Astling.
Moving to Little Gaddesden 6
On 8th April 1895, the Little Gaddesden School Log Book records that Sidney’s brothers George and Alfred were entered on the School Registers as the family had come to live at Hudnall; they had previously been at Whipsnade School. However, Sidney, who may also have attended Whipsnade School, must then have left school. On 1st May 1889, the family left Hudnall for Luton, returning to the area from Luton on 9th April 1900 when Albert, Alfred and Ernest Rogers were re-admitted to Little Gaddesden School.
The 1901 Census shows 18 year old Sidney living at the Butcher’s Shop, 9 Hudnall where he worked as a Slaughterman for Mr Fred Janes, 25, the Butcher. Other members of the household were Fred’s wife Emily, their children Ernest Janes, 3, and Edith, 1 and Emma Messenger, a 13 year old General Domestic Servant.
The Rogers Family in 1901 3
The 1901 Census shows Sidney’s family living at 12 Ringshall. His father was then 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 Rogers, 9 and Winifred, 4, were all at school.
The Little Gaddesden Brass Band 7
The Little Gaddesden Brass Band was formed in 1902 and a report and statement of accounts for 1902 – 1903 has survived. To obtain funds, entertainments were performed and donations sought. Each band member paid 3d per week toward the cost of tuition. The report noted “our balance in hand is very low, but we again rely on our many kind friends to give us their support and stick to our motto: Nil Desperandum”. The report included a photograph in which Sidney, aged about 20, is seated 2nd from right in the front row.
- Back Row, L to R: 1. Archibald Johnson; 2. Thomas Johnson; 3. Frederick Cutler; 5. John Wibden; 6. Edward Hing; 7. Edward Pinnock (father of George Pinnock and Arthur Pinnock).
- Middle Row, L to R: 3. Arthur Johnson; 4. Sam Oakins; 6. Harry Wells (father of William Wells); 7. Walter Holland; 8. Herbert Fenn.
- Front Row, L to R: 1. Steve Oakins; 4. William Johnson;
- Under the drum: Hubert Halsey
- Band members absent from the photo included William Fenn and Matthew Munden; the Band’s Secretary was Geoffrey Talbot.
The 1911 Census shows 27 year old Sidney living at 16 Little Gaddesden and working as the Coachman for a Hotel Company; his Service Record names the company as the Home Counties Public Houses Trust Company. He was employed at the Bridgewater Arms, then run by Mr Frederick Roberts.
Sidney’s parents, meanwhile, lived at 4 Ringshall with his younger siblings Alfred, 21 and Ernest Rogers, 19, both Farm Labourers, and Nellie Winifred, who was at home with their mother. Sidney’s brother Albert, a Metropolitan Police Officer, lived in the parish of St John at Hackney. 4 Ringshall was the address to which Sidney later returned on his discharge from the army.
On 15th November 1915, Sidney Rogers, a 32 year old Groom working at the Bridgewater Arms, Little Gaddesden, attested for the Bedfordshire Regiment at Berkhamsted, to serve for the duration of the War. He was 5 feet 7½ inches tall with a 41½ inch chest. He was initially posted to the Reserve but was mobilised on 24th March 1916 and posted to the 9th Battalion, in which he served as a Private, Service Number 27677. This was a Reserve Battalion, serving in England, which also provided drafts for front line units.
However, on 27th August 1916, Sidney was sent to France, initially to 17 Base Depot. Then, on 20th September 1916, he transferred to the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Less than a month later, on 18th October 1916, he was wounded in action during the Battle of Le Transloy (Somme) when the Battalion was in trenches East of Gueudecourt, operating in very wet and trying conditions.
“We are very anxious” 8
Sidney’s Service record contains a letter dated 12th November 1916, from his father Thomas to the Officer in charge of Records, which reads as follows:
Thank you for sending information of Pte SR Rogers 27677
11th Platoon, C Coy. 8th Beds Regt. can you kindly tell us any more about him as we are very anxious. I am
A note on the bottom of this letter states “Father notified 4/11/16”. However, his record contains no other mention of this wound or of its treatment.
Sidney remained serving in France until late April 1917, when he was wounded again, suffering a gunshot wound to the left foot. On his record this is noted as ‘slight’, but he returned to England and, on 30th April 1917, was admitted to the 1/5th Northern General Hospital at Leicester, where he remained until 8th October 1917.
Sidney then returned to his family home, 4 Ringshall and, following a Medical Board at the hospital on 19th September 1917, he was approved for discharge from the Service as permanently unfit. An entry in his record states:
Please note that this man has been sent to his home on warrant with orders to await instructions as to his final discharge. He has been given £1 (one pound) advance and a suit of plain clothes.
His final discharge came on 10th October 1917. At that time, the wound to his foot caused him 40% disability. He therefore received a pension of 27 shillings and 6 pence for 4 weeks, then 11 shillings per week, to be reviewed in 44 weeks. As the result of his medical discharge, Sidney was awarded a Silver War Badge and Certificate, No. 265429. For his War Service he was also 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”
Sidney 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. His unit is shown as the 9th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, the battalion in which he first served; he is similarly recorded on the Centenary Revision of the Roll. His brother Ernest Rogers, Suffolk Regiment is also named on both Rolls.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
After his discharge, Sidney stayed at his family home, 4 Ringshall, until 1920. The 1921 Electoral Register then shows him living at 46 Little Gaddesden, but in 1922 he returned to 4 Ringshall. He has not been traced for much of the 1920s, though he may be the Sydney Rogers at 60 High Street, Berkhamsted in 1925 and 1926.
Electoral Registers for 1929 and 1930 then show him living at 44 Cotterells, Boxmoor and, by 1939, he had moved to Hitchin. The 1939 Register records him living in a Lodgings House, 30 Bridge Street, Hitchin and working as a General Labourer.
65 year old Sydney Rogers, a General Labourer of 30 Bridge Street, Hitchin died on 29th November 1948 in Chalkdell Hospital, Hitchin. The causes of his death were cardiac failure and chronic myocarditis. The informant registering his death was J Bennett, who is recorded as the Occupier, Chalkdell Hospital.
After Sidney’s death, England, Andrews Newspaper Index Card entries show requests made in 1949 that
the kin of Sidney Rowland (otherwise Sydney) Rogers, late of 30 Bridge-street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire… are requested to apply to the Treasury Solicitor…
It seems that, by the time of his death, Sidney had lost contact with other members of his family.
6. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
7. Report and Statement of Accounts of the Little Gaddesden Brass Band 1902 – 1903
14. Copy (pdf) of the Death Certificate of Sydney Rogers of 30 Bridge Street, Hitchin
Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson