It was a tough life for Wearside man Henry Rogerson.
By 1907, he had lost his dad William when he was just 17-years-old.
By 1911, he was one of six people living in a two-room property in Braddyll Street, South Hetton, along with his mum Mary Ann, her brother William Metcalf, Henry’s brothers George, 17, William Rogerson, 13, and Henry’s future wife Edith Annie Wilson.
Life did improve in 1912 when Henry and Edith Annie – who worked as a general servant – married and had their first child, William. Daughter Isabella followed in 1915.
But there was little else to celebrate for Henry in the weeks to come. By 1915, he was a soldier and had been posted to France with the 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.
The fate which awaited him in France was one which went down in history.
At dawn on July 1, the 10th Battalion had begun their attack with approximately 900 men and by nightfall there were 125Kevin Dance
On July 1, 1916, his Battalion was at the centre of the action in the first day of the Battle of the Somme. It became the heaviest hit unit in the entire British Army on any single day of action – and Henry was a victim.
We thank researcher Kevin Dance for sharing Henry’s story – one of many he has uncovered from the village.
“The War Diary for this day records losses as 750 soldiers and 27 officers as either killed, missing, or wounded,” said Kevin. “At dawn on July 1, the 10th Battalion had begun their attack with approximately 900 men and by nightfall there were 125.”
There were 57,470 British casualties on this first day of the Battle of the Somme.
“Unfortunately for Henry Rogerson he was wounded and eventually evacuated back to England where he died from his wounds at home on July 13, 1916,” said Kevin.
“He is remembered with honour at South Hetton Holy Trinity Churchyard.
“Henry was awarded the British, Victory, and 15 Star Medals. His widow Edith Annie was awarded 13 pounds 5 shillings and 10 pence.”