Private, Hampshire Regiment, 2nd Bn.
Service no. 27971
Died on 6 May 1918, aged about 22.
Remembered at Remembered at Cinq Rues British Cemetery, Hazebrouck, Nord, France
Chris Burge writes:
Joseph Rogers, born in Lambeth in 1896, was the youngest of six siblings. He was baptised together with his two-year-old brother Edward on 16 December at St Stephen’s Church, South Lambeth. His parents, Frederick James and Annie Maria (née Seeds) Rogers, gave the family address as 18 Beech Street, off Dorset Road, Stockwell, and his father worked as a ‘carman’. By the time of the 1911 census there had been four additions to the Rogers family and Joseph was now one of ten children whose ages ranged from eight to 21. Joseph’s father now worked as a ‘fitters labourer’. Three of Joseph’s brothers worked in various jobs for the London & South Western Railway and two of his sisters worked as packers, one in a chemical factory and another in a preserves factory. Joseph, 14, worked as a ‘printers boy’. The 12 members of the Rogers family lived in four rooms at 18 Beech Street, a property which also housed another family of six in four other rooms.
By the outbreak of war in 1914, both of Joseph’s older sisters had married. His brother Edward had married in 1913 and had two children when he was conscripted in May 1916. Because he had longstanding health problems, Edward was placed on the Army Reserve and became a worker at Vickers munitions factory in Erith, Kent.
Joseph was conscripted towards the end of 1916 and served only in the 2nd Hampshire once in France in 1917 and in 1918. The 2nd Hampshire were present at the Arras offensive in 1917 and at 3rd Ypres, notably in August and October 1917. In March 1918 they were still in the Ypres Salient but were moved south in early April when the enemy offensive between Ypres and Bethune threatened the import centres of Armentières and Hazebrouck. The situation was only stabilised by the end of April when they were digging the reserve line around La Motte, some three miles to the south of Hazebrouk. A tour of duty in forward positions between the 6 and 13 May was described as ‘quiet with few casualties’. Enemy planes had overflown the nearby Bois d’Aval strafing and dropping bombs each afternoon with little effect, something that might have made Joseph think of his brother Charles who was in the RAF back in England in 1918. With no other detail, the casualties for the 6 May 1918 were listed as ‘3 killed, 3 wounded, 3 sick to hospital, 3 reinforcements, 1 died of wounds’. Joseph Rogers was one of those killed in action on that day.
The Rogers family were still living in Beech Street after the end of the war. Joseph’s father Frederick James Rogers died in 1929, aged 64. Annie Maria Rogers was 81 when she passed away in 1948.