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220438 GNR/SIG. A. ROGERS.  R.F.A.


(My thanks to family member S. Mackenzie who alerted me to the fact that Archibald Rogers was serving with C/286 when he died.)


Archibald Rogers was born on 28 June 1882 in Rotherhithe.  The family was then living at 32 Abbeyfield Road.  Archie was baptised on 13 August at Rotherhithe St Mary.  His father was John Charles Rogers (b. 1852 in Chatham), a printer and compositor.  His mother was Rose Viner (b. 1858 in Paddington).  John and Rose were married at Bermondsey St Anne on 12 February 1880 and they had five children: Henry John (b. 1880), then Archie, then Winifred (b. 1885), Rose (b. 1888) and Olive (b. 1890).


Rose died in 1893 and John died the following year.  This meant that the family was broken up.  By 1901, Henry was working in Bermondsey as a pawnbroker’s assistant, and living over the shop; Archie was a boarder with the Phipps family in Wood Green, and working as a photographer; Winifred was living in Bermondsey with her Aunt Emma and her maternal grandmother and worked as a dressmaker.  But the two younger girls were orphaned and placed in an orphanage in Bristol.


Archie was 18 in 1901 and given that he had no close family ties, I suspect that he joined the Army that year.  He may then have served in South Africa towards the end of the Second Boer War or in the army which enforced and maintained British control over the colony.  By 1908, however, Archie was back in the UK and had moved to Liverpool where, on 25 April 1908, he married Janet Benny Sim (known as Gladys).  Gladys was born in Dundee in 1888.  Her father was James Sim (b. 1853 in Dundee).  He was a ship’s carpenter and was washed overboard and drowned in November 1905 while sailing back from Australia on the ship “Ancenis”.  I haven’t been able to establish when the Sim family moved from Scotland to Liverpool but the ship “Ancenis” was owned by G. T. Soley & Co. Ltd. and sailed out of Liverpool.  Archie and Gladys then had two children: Henry John (b. 1909) and Marjorie Rose (b. 1913).  They named their son after Archie’s older brother who had died the year before. 


Henry John was born in Toxteth but by 1911 the family had moved across the Mersey and were living at 18 Morley Road, Poulton with Seacombe, (Wallasey) on the Wirral. Archie was working as a process engraver in the printing industry.


Archie was already 32 when War broke out.  If he had not had previous army experience he would not have been expected to enlist early on, but if as I suspect he did have previous service he might have been called back from the reserves.  Given the normal pattern of recruitment, one would have expected Archie to have gone into D/276, with a 681xxx service number.  But his service number, 220438, is in a range used by the Regular Army.  So again, I suspect that at the start of the War Archie was called up to join a Regular brigade and was later transferred to C/286.  A likely point for such a transfer would be the beginning of 1918, when the Army was undergoing radical reorganisation and restructuring.  So my best guess is that Archie fought with C/286 through the Battle of the Lys and then joined the advance towards Cambrai in September.


On 27 September, the Brigade supported 4th Canadian Division as they attacked and crossed the Canal du Nord and advanced to Bourlon.  It was here that Archie was killed.  He was 36 years old.


Rank:  Gunner/Signaller

Service No:  220438

Date of Death:  27/10/1918

Age:  36

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “C” Bty., 286Bde

Cemetery Reference:  I. D. 11.


Additional Information:  Son of John Rogers, of London; husband of Janet B. Rogers, of 14 Morley Road, Poulton, Wallasey, Cheshire.


Gladys/Janet remarried after the War.  Her second husband was William Henry Bomford (b. 1895 in Liverpool).  They married in 1923 and had two children, Vera Louise and William Douglas.  William Henry Blomford was a Private in the Tank Corps during the War.  He survived the War and died in 1973.


Archie and Gladys’ son, Henry John, married Muriel Martha Roberts in 1936.  Muriel was born in 1909.  I haven’t found records of any children.  During World War 2, Henry John Rogers served in the merchant navy.  He was 3rd Engineer Officer on the S/S “Robert L Holt” when it was attacked by a German U-boat and sunk on 3 July 1941.  According to At 04.36 hours on 3 July 1941, U-69 began a gun duel with the armed Robert L. Holt (Master John Alexander Kendall) southwest of the Canary Islands. She had been the ship of commodore Vice-Admiral N.A. Wodehouse, CB, RN from the dispersed convoy OB-337. The ship sank at 06.50 hours after the U-boat had fired 102 high explosive rounds and 34 incendiary rounds from the deck gun, 220 rounds from the 20mm gun and 400 rounds with the MG34. The master, the commodore, 41 crew members, eight gunners and five naval staff members (56 men in total) were lost.

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