Northamptonshire’s Decorated Soldiers (WW1)
It was just six weeks ago I volunteered at the museum and now find myself deeply immersed into finding the stories of local men awarded a military decoration during the First World War. Although I have for many years researched into the history and soldiers who served in our county regiment, and I am therefore familiar with accessing newspapers and archival documents, I have surprised myself to have already identified more than 220 decorated men and one woman from the town.
My talk on 6th August, which will be at Northampton Museum & Art Gallery will be entitled ‘For Bravery in the Field’ which is the inscription to be found on the Military Medal instituted during the war in March 1916. This medal is by far the most numerous gallantry award seen, but there were many awards of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which ranks just below the Victoria Cross. Alas there was no Victoria Cross winner from Northampton, but I intend to tell the story of one such man with a local connection.
With such a marvellous collection on display at the Abington Park Museum, I will explore the gallantry medals awarded to the Northamptonshire Regiment in the Great War. With many men from the town already serving in the regular and territorial battalions of the regiment, and with volunteers from Northampton filling the ranks of three new service battalions, nearly half the decorated men are to be found from the regiment. But there are representatives from the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps and other county regiments.
There are several men from the then newly formed arm of the Royal Flying Corps. I hope to unravel a truly remarkable story of a 20 year old air mechanic from Jimmy’s End, Jack North Rogers, who won one of the first D.C.M’s for air combat over the Ypres Salient in early 1915. Sadly he was killed in a flying accident when training to be a pilot and is buried in St. Luke’s Churchyard at Duston.
I would be interested to hear from anyone who can relate the story behind a medal won for gallantry by a Northampton man in the First World War.