Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthApril 13, 1898
Place of BirthClintery, Newhills, Aberdeenshire
CountryScotland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAndrew Roger, father, Willen PO, Manitoba
Trade / CallingBank clerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number199150
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion24th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentFort William, Ontario
Address at Enlistment238 N Harold Street, Fort William, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentMarch 23, 1916
Age at Enlistment17
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJanuary 14, 1981
Age at Death83
Buried AtRiverside Cemetery, Neepawa, Manitoba
Plot14-9-18

Roger, Andrew John

Andrew John Roger was born on 13 April 1898 in Clintery, Newhills, a small community just northwest of Aberdeen in Scotland. His father Andrew Roger was from Rathen, Fraserburgh while his mother Elizabeth Ruxton was from Belhelvie, both in Aberdeenshire. The couple married on 19 May 1897 in Strichen, a small town near where Andrew Sr was from. By the time of the birth of their next child Alexander Ruxton in May of 1900, the family had settled in the village of Longside, about 15 kilometres from Strichen. Andrew Sr was a blacksmith by trade, enabling the family to employ a servant girl as well as train a blacksmith apprentice as evidenced by the 1901 census. Other children born in Longside were Elizabeth Ruxton (1902) and Hugh James (1903).

It appears that Andrew Sr immigrated to Canada first, arriving in Halifax on 28 March 1905 aboard the Laurentian. Listed as a blacksmith from Aberdeen, he was on his way to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Elizabeth and the children followed later that year, arriving in Montreal aboard the Pretorian on 19 June. The passenger list indicated that they were on their way to Winnipeg, Elizabeth listed as a blacksmiths/mechanics wife. By the time of the 1911 census the family was living in Keewatin, Ontario, a small town just west of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. Andrew Sr was working as a blacksmith at the local flour mill, a large operation that attracted a number of recent immigrants looking for work. Around 1915 Andrew’s parents and siblings moved to the village of Willen in southwestern Manitoba in the RM of Archie.

By the time Andrew signed his attestation papers on 23 March 1916 he was living in Fort William, Ontario and working as a bank clerk. The 94th Battalion recruited in Port Arthur, Fort William, Kenora, Rainy River, Fort Frances and Dryden, Ontario and was mobilized at Port Arthur. As a Private with the battalion, Andrew arrived in England aboard the Olympic on 6 July 1916.

Once in England Andrew was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion and then on to the 46th Battalion that September, taken on strength in the field on the 11th. A short time later he was transferred to the 24th Battalion, taken on strength on 8 October.

‘The 24th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force’s Victoria Rifles of Canada, arrived in France in 1915 and received its baptism of fire around Mount Kemmel. They then took part in the savage close quarter mine warfare around St Eloi. Moved south to the Somme as the great Allied offensive there opened in 1916, the Battalion fought heroically and doggedly in the latter stages of the battle at the villages of Flers, and especially in the taking of Courcelette. They also participated in the much delayed taking of the Thiepval and Ancre heights. Perhaps their finest hour came in April 1917 with Canada’s dramatic seizure of Vimy Ridge during the Battle of Arras. The Battalion returned to the Ypres Salient in time for the Third Battle there (Passchendaele). The following year, the 24th took part in the Allied counter-offensive before Amiens, and played a gallant role in the 100 Days campaign which saw the breaching of the Hindenburg Line and the crossing of the Canal du Nord which led in turn to Germany asking for an Armistice.’   (24th BATTALION C.E.F. VICTORIA RIFLES OF CANADA 1914-1919, by by R. C. Fetherstonhaugh)

In May of 1917 Andrew attended the 1st Army Infantry School, returning to the 24th Battalion on the 11th. That July he was admitted to No 5, 4, and 1 Canadian Field Ambulances with a leg infection/impetigo and then with PUO, fever of unknown origin. In November, suffering from boils on his legs, he was admitted to the No 12 Canadian Field Ambulance, transferred to two hospitals in Г‰taples in mid December and then on to the No 13 Convalescent Depot in Trouville a few days later. Discharged on 2 February 1918, he was admitted to No 51 General Hospital five days later, discharged on 29 March.

Near the end of their rotation in the front line trenches at Arras in May of 1918, Andrew sustained multiple gunshot/sharpnel wounds to the face and both forearms on the 27th. The next day he was admitted to the No 6 General Hospital in Rouen, evacuated to England on 21 June where was to spend time at a number of hospitals including Mill Road Infirmary, Venice Street Auxiliary Hospital, Wellington Road Hospital, and then back to Venice Street, all in Liverpool. That September Andrew was transferred to the Granville Special Canadian Hospital in Buxton. While in Buxton Andrew was away without leave from 10 December until 20 December, forfeiting 29 days pay. He had a number of surgeries on his nose and arms, both in France and in England before it was decided that he be returned to Canada for further treatment. Andrew arrived in St John, New Brunswick aboard the Essequibo on 26 January 1919 and was admitted to the Manitoba Military Hospital in Winnipeg on the 30th. Near the end of April he had another surgery to his nose, a bone transplantation, and was discharged from the hospital on 26 May. With numerous scars/marks to the nose, right eye, and both arms, Andrew was discharged from service as medically unfit on 31 May 1919 in Winnipeg. His intended residence was given as 729 Toronto Street in Winnipeg.

At some point Andrew returned to Willen where his parents and sister Elizabeth were living. On 5 February 1924 Andrew married Emily Cannon in Elkhorn, Manitoba, a town located about 25 kilometres from Willen. Born on 31 October 1901 in the nearby McAuley area in the RM of Archie, Emily was the daughter of Henry (Harry) Cannon and Jane Davidson. Her father was born in England while her mother was born in Scotland, with the couple marrying in Birtle, Manitoba earlier that year.

Andrew and Emily were to make Willen their home where they owned and operated the general store and post office. They gave birth to one known child, daughter Ruth. While in Willen Andrew was an ardent sportsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing. He served many years as a counsellor in the local district and with various other organizations. In June of 1933 Andrew, Emily, along with his mother Elizabeth, returned to Scotland, arriving back in Canada on 8 July on the Duchess of Richmond.

Among the largest peacetime crowd ever to assemble at a war memorial, some 100 000 strong and including 6 200 Canadians, Andrew and Emily travelled overseas in 1936 in what was termed the Vimy Pilgrimage. Issued special Vimy Pilgrimage passports, they witnessed the unveiling of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France by King Edward VIII on 26 July, honouring Canada’s contributions to the Great War and the country’s fallen soldiers.

In 1957 the family moved to Neepawa, Manitoba where Andrew took the position of Prairie Farm Assistant Act District Supervisor. He was a member of the Neepawa Branch of the Canadian Legion. In 1975 Andrew and Emily moved to Winnipeg, residing at Westwood House on Portage Avenue.

Andrew died on 14 January 1981 in Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg. At the time of his death he was survived by his daughter Ruth (Ron) Kleven, two grandsons, brother Alexander of Winnipeg and sister Elizabeth of Brandon, Manitoba. He was predeceased by his mother Elizabeth (1947), father Andrew (1963), brother Hugh (1970, St Helena, California), and his wife Emily (1980). Alexander died a month later, followed by Elizabeth in 1986 in Brandon. Andrew and Emily are interred in Riverside Cemetery in Neepawa.

Andrew is commemorated for his service on the Municipality of Keewatin For King and Country plaque and the Town of Keewatin Roll of Honour plaque.

By Judy Stockham

Photographs of Andrew and Emily and their grave marker courtesy of the family.
Port Arthur newspaper article provided by the Thunder Bay Public Library.

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