Victoria Cross : Sergeant J Rogers, South African Constabulary

Place Africa: South Africa, Orange Free State
Accession Number AWM2016.660.1.1
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Bronze
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: Boer War
Maker Hancocks
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London
Date made c 1901
Conflict South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details; reverse cross with date of action.

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History / Summary

James Rogers was born in Moama, New South Wales on 2 June 1875 and learned to ride at the age of four. He served with a local company of the Victorian Mounted Rifles before enlisting in the 1st Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1899, arriving in South Africa in November. Six months later he transferred to the South African Constabulary. The following year, during an ambush by about 60 Boers, he rescued soldiers on three separate occasions, each time while under heavy fire. For his actions he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The citation for the award reads:

'On the 15th June, 1901, during a skirmish near Thaba ‘Nchu, a party of the rear-guard of Captain Sitwell's column, consisting of Lieutenant F. Dickson, Sergeant Rogers and six men of the South African Constabulary, was suddenly attacked by about sixty Boers. Lieutenant Dickinson's horse having been shot, that officer was compelled to follow his men on foot. Sergeant Rogers, seeing this, rode back, firing as he did so, took Dickinson up behind him and carried him for half a mile on his horse. The Sergeant then returned to within four hundred yards of the enemy and carried away, one after the other, two men who lost their horses, after which he caught the horses of two other men and helped the men to mount. All this was done under a very heavy rifle fire. The Boers were near enough to Sergeant Rogers to call upon him to surrender; his only answer was to continue firing.'

After a brief return to Australia in 1902, Rogers went back to the war as a lieutenant in the Australian Commonwealth Horse. He also served during the First World War, but was invalided home in 1916 because of serious wounds received on Gallipoli. For a while in 1918, he held a commission in the Royal Australian Naval Brigade. After the war Rogers was a grazier in Victoria and later retired to Sydney. He died in Concord Repatriation Hospital in 1961.

Rogers’s Victoria Cross is accompanied by the Queen’s and the King’s South Africa Medals, service medals for the First World War, and coronation medals for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.