Village memories: Hayricks near Little Marlow (picture from SWOP website)
No photograph available
RIFLEMAN/ 330389 HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT/1/8TH BATTALION
KILLED IN ACTION IN PALESTINE ON 19 APRIL 1917 AGED 22YRS.
JERUSALEM MEMORIAL, ISRAEL. REF PANELS 28/29
Owen Rogers was born at Pigeon House Farm Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire on 16th August 1894. He was the youngest son of Albert and Elizabeth Rogers. He had four brothers William, Frank, Albert and Frederick.
The 1/8th battalion of the Hampshire regiment was also known as the Isle of Wight Rifles and the local men in the Little Marlow area were recruited by Lt-Col John Rhodes who was the regiment commander and also Agent for the Little Marlow estate. Each man was offered one pound as an incentive to join up. This was the equivalent of a week’s wages or more for many of the men.
On 30th July 1915 they sailed from Liverpool to the shores of Gallipoli. They saw their first action on 12 August 1915. The Rifles were withdrawn from the Peninsula in November 1915 and sailed for Alexandria in Egypt where they re-trained near the pyramids to prepare for the advance in to Palestine. The aim of this campaign was to protect the Suez canal by driving out the Turks and to link up with General Townshend’s force driving across Mesopotamia.
The Second Battle of Gaza( 17th/19th April) saw three Battalions advance “with great dash” over the first shallow ridge with little or no cover. The men were facing long range machine gun fire. Men were holding packs in front of their faces in a desperate attempt to avoid the sweeping machine guns and the slightest movement drew heavy fire. They were pinned down and unable to move. This battle was a costly failure . The final list of casualties for the I.O.W Rifles included 8 officers and 186 men killed, mostly from “C” and “D” Companies.
Sadly on this day Owen Rogers, together with three other I.O.W Riflemen from the Little Marlow /Flackwell Heath area , Joseph Summerfield, Leonard Southam and Percy Twitchen died. He and his three brothers are also remembered on the Little Marlow War Memorial.