On Wednesday, 26 April 2023 a blue plaque was revealed in Redland dedicated to Sergeant Maurice Rogers VC, MM.
Maurice Rogers was born at 39 Brighton Road on 17 July 1919. He enlisted in the Wiltshire Regiment at 14 as a drummer boy. He married Lena Stone at Bethnal Green in March 1941.
At Anzio in Italy, a battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment was ordered to attack high ground held by the enemy. Sergeant Rogers’ platoon came under intense fire from seven machine guns and sustained multiple casualties. Without hesitation, Sergeant Rogers continued to advance alone. Having drawn the enemies’ fire, his platoon was inspired to follow and they breached the enemy line. By this time, Sergeant Rogers was deep into the enemy position. He was shot and killed at point blank range. “His undaunted determination, fearless devotion to duty and superb courage carried his platoon on to their objective.” He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and he is buried in the Beach Head War cemetery in Anzio.
At today’s commemoration, Dr John Black (5th from left in our image) outlined how he discovered Sergeant Rogers’ story while researching the Wiltshire Regiment. He was surprised that his gallantry had not been recognised in Bristol, Maurice Rogers’ home city. He, together with the support of the Bristol Civic Society, have successfully achieved the installation of a memorial plaque.
Malcolm Ravenscroft on behalf of the Bristol Civic Society, then gave a brief outline of the blue plaque scheme in Bristol and its general objectives.
Major Steven Bowkett (2nd from left), Regimental Secretary of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regimental Association gave a brief summary of Maurice Rogers’ short life and his heroic actions in Italy leading to his being awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. He drew parallels with the many young men now tragically fighting in Ukraine.
Following ‘The Last Post’ played by the Regimental Buglers, those attending the event retired to the Boston Tea Party for refreshments.
In our image, from the left: Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Fawzi Peeroo RAMC; Major (Retd) Bowkett, Regimental Secretary; Captain George Herrill RAMC; Bugler unknown; Dr John Black; Bugler unknown; Captain Lloyd Bath, Royal Signals; Sergeant T Watson, Royal Signals.