William Frederick Rogers

William Frederick Rogers
Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps

Division 67

Rogers WF photo  CIMG2146

William Frederick Rogers was the son of Mr and Mrs Rogers of 65, Swainstone Road, Reading.  Both his parents were dead, his father for many years, before the death of William. His mother, Hannah Rogers died 28th February 1912, aged 52.  Lieutenant Rogers is buried with his mother in the Reading Cemetery the grave number is 15645. He is remembered as a dear brother. The lettering is very indistinct and currently the grave is not listed among the registered war graves for the cemetery.

William Rogers was born at Henley-on-Thames his family moved to Reading when he was about fourteen.  William lived in Reading for five years before emigrating to Canada where he became an engineer, later he moved to the USA where he took up motor-cycle riding. Rogers returned to England in November 1914 and joined a Canadian Regiment in London.  Later he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, in which he obtained his commission, initially as a Sub-Lieutenant although he very quickly rose to a full Lieutenant when his abilities were realised.  He held his pilot’s certificate three to four weeks before he died and was regarded as one of the best pilots in his squad.

Details of the death of Lieutenant Rogers were given in an article published in the Reading Chronicle on 7th January 1916.  William was aged 24 when he was killed in a flying accident whilst flying at Fort Grange, Gosport, on 28th December 1915.  The article gives details of the accident in which William Rogers lost his life:

“Lieutenant Rogers was making a flight with a new Curtiss machine when he was killed.  The machine, which was at a low altitude, being no more than 150 feet up, was seen making a nose dive to earth, and it fell heavily, burying its fore-part in the ground.  Help was quickly at hand and Lieut. Rogers was found in his machine unconscious.  He was taken out of it, but death had taken place before the doctor’s arrival.  Immediately the deceased commenced the flight it was observed that he was not comfortable in the machine, and it is said that he turned it when too near the ground.  At the inquest which was held a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.”

The body of William Rogers was brought by train from Gosport accompanied by many of his fellow officers.   At the railway station the funeral cortège was met by relations and friends.   The coffin was covered with a Union Jack and the mourners then walked in procession to the Reading Cemetery.  The funeral service was held in the cemetery chapel and as William Rogers was interred the 3/4th  Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment provided a firing party.

The paper lists the mourners as:

“ Mrs Mable Rogers (sister) Mr and Mrs Charles Rogers (brother and sister-in-law), Mr Gilbert Rogers, Mr Harold Rogers and Mr Frank Rogers (brothers), Mrs Beaumont of Bromley (aunt), Mr Harvey (cousin)……Brigadier-General J.S.A, Higgins, D.S.O. (commanding officer of the 2nd Brigade Royal Flying Corps, Gosport, Lieut.-Colonel J.H.W. Beck (Commanding 7th Wing, RFC, Gosport), officers of 7th Wing and NCO’s and mechanics of the 23rd Squad RFC.”

 Initial searches of the CWGC website provided no information about W F Rogers however, brief details were found on 5th April 2002.   The information gives only his name, rank and date of death and an indication that Lieutenant Rogers is commemorated on the UK Memorial.  The author has communicated with the CWGC to have his burial place registered officially. It is known that in due course a war pattern headstone is to be erected.

Herbert Roseblade

Herbert Roseblade
Private PO/16133
Royal Marine Light Infantry

 Division 26

Roseblade H photo

Herbert Roseblade was the  son of Emma and Arthur Roseblade, of 4 St. Saviours Terrace, Field Road, Reading.  The 1911 census indicates that Arthur was a bricklayer as was older brother John. Herbert worked in a book repair shop. Emma had given birth to six children during her marriage, five survived but only three were living at home. The 1901 census gives the names of William and Albert. Herbert and his brothers all  served in the war.

Herbert is commemorated on the headstone of his parents grave.  Number 155542. 

 He was killed in action at Gallipoli on 6th May 1915.  British forces had landed on the 25th April 1915 and fierce fighting had taken place ever since.  The 6th May marked what was referred to as the 2nd Battle of  Krithia.  Herbert  was killed in action in the Dardanelles but his body was lost, he was aged 19. 

Herbert is commemorated on the Helles Memorial Panel 2 -7.

Agnes Maude Russell

Agnes Maude Russell
Staff Nurse
Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service

 Division 3


Military honours were accorded at the funeral of Sister Agnes Maude Russell, who died 4th October 1916, at Queen Alexandra’s Hospital for Sick Sisters. Sister Russell, aged 42, was nursing soldiers in Malta when she was invalided home on the 27th September.  The soldiers would probably have been those requiring treatment as a result of action in the Dardanelles.

 Formerly she had been a  school nurse employed by the London Education Committee.  She was also a Sunday School teacher at Westminster Chapel, where the first part of the funeral service was conducted.

Before the interment a service was held at Kings Rd. Baptist Church, the Rev. R. G. Fairbairn officiating.  The hymn “For all the saints”, was sung.    The mourners were Mr. Augustine Russell (father), Mr. E.A. Russell (brother), her sister, brother and sister in law and cousin.  The congregation included members of Westminster Chapel, Matron Q.A. Hospital, members of staff London Education Committee, Matron of No. 1 War Hospital, Numerous floral tributes including from her father, the Girl Guides of Westminster chapel, members of staff London Education Committee, Nurses and staff No. 1 War hospital, the School Nurses League.

Her grave has a CWGC headstone.