Rushden Echo, 1st November 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins
Yelden Soldier’s Death - Gunner John Rogers Succumbs to Wounds
Official news was received on Saturday, October 26th, to say that he died of wounds received in action. The sad part is that he was expecting his first leave to England at the beginning of November. He joined the Colours on November 9th, 1915. His last leave before going abroad was on June 18th, 1917. He sailed from Devonport for Mesopotamia on the following Friday, June 22nd. The next news of him was received from Durban, dated July 24th, where he stayed for a week. He wrote home saying that the soldiers were allowed to visit the town and its surroundings. He said the week spent there was most enjoyable. His next letter gives and interesting description of his life spent after he had reached Mesopotamia:-
Mrs W Clark, of Yelden, received a telegram on Monday, October 14th, saying that her only son, Gunner John Rogers, 891544, R F A, aged 24, had been dangerously wounded and was at the 29th Casualty Station, France. This was followed by a letter from the Chaplain of the Clearing Station on October 18th to say: “I am so sorry to tell you that your son, J Rogers (Gunner) died of wounds on October 13th, yesterday. He was buried to-day according to the rites of the Church of England.”
“It is very hot here, and we are not allowed out during the day between the hours of 10am and 4pm, so you can guess it is rather warm, but I’ve been all right so far. We have to parade at 5pm for quinine tablets and gun-drill, breakfast at nine o’clock, and then supposed to sleep during the day, but it’s too hot for us to sleep.
There is some lovely scenery out here, plenty of palm trees, and the natives are very interesting to watch.”
In his next letter he told his mother that he expected to go to the firing line any day. He also mentioned that he had travelled up the banks of the river Tigris, passing on his way the place where the Garden of Eden was supposed to have been. He said after all that there was no place like “Blighty.” After five months in Mesopotamia he was drafted to Egypt, in January. During his stay in Egypt he speaks of the beautiful weather. He was very disappointed at not being able to enter the Holy City, but he was shortly transferred to France, in the beginning of April. He had been in action practically all the time in France, until his death. In his later letters he said that he had had a very rough time of it, having had no proper sleep or even time for a wash for days. He was eagerly looking forward to a leave in Blighty about the time he met his death.
On Tuesday last Mrs Clark received the following letter, dated October 24th, form Second-Lieut. Charles Bullock: “Dear Mrs ClarkIt was with regret that I learned that your son, Gunner J Rogers, had died of his wounds, and I am sure it will be a great loss to you. Please accept my deepest sympathy. He was a good fellow and one of our best gunners. He was serving the guns when he was wounded in the back. He took it like a hero, and five minutes afterwards was laughing and joking and quite in good spirits when he went off to hospital, and everybody was very sorry and surprised when the news came through that he had died. What he was like after he left the battery I don’t know, but from what I can gather he suffered very little. I am sure he must be a very great loss to you, and I tender my very deepest sympathy.”
Mr and Mrs W Clark wish to return sincere thanks to all kind friends for their messages of sympathy with then in their sad bereavement.