Young victim of Titanic tragedy remembered

By Kat Archer  
Saturday 6th August 2022 9:30 am
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The Rogers’ family vault commemorating Titanic victim, Harry Rogers (Kat Archer )

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AMONG the memorials in Tavistock’s Plymouth Road Cemetery is one dedicated to a young victim of the Titanic disaster.

Reginald Henry Rogers, referred to as ‘Harry’ of Tavistock was born on July 17 1893 and was 18- years-old when he was lost during the Titanic disaster of 1912.

The Rogers family were stonemasons in Tavistock, whose business operated on 14-15 Ford Street until 1972. The family created many of the monuments, headstones and tombs rectified in the town during the late 19th century until 1972 when the business was sold to Pascoe and Son of Gulworthy.

The business was established by Harry’s grandfather, John Stephen Rogers and Harry’s father John Giles Rogers was also a stonemason himself who sadly passed away in October 1903, with his mother remarrying two years later.

Harry Rogers, grandson of J S Rogers had been in service with Reverend Maitland Kelly and after worked at the Bedford Hotel, with his final employment being at the Angel Hotel in Helston, where he worked for around three years.

On the day of the Titanic tragedy, the 18-year-old had been sailing for Pennyslvania to meet some family members who lived in Wilkes-Barre and had suggested he move to the USA.

As a second class passenger, Rogers embarked at Southampton with a ticket that had cost £10, 10s.

The young man was originally due to travel on another liner, but as a result of a coal strike the initial sail was cancelled and Harry had to board the Titanic.

At the time, Harry’s death was reported by the Western Morning News in 1912 describing Rogers as a ‘smart and steady young fellow’, whilst also stating that ‘both mother and grandmother are in much distress, fearing the worst.’

Harry’s mother remained living in Devon until 1955 when she died.

Unfortunately, Harry’s body was never recovered and his death is now remembered on the Tavistock grave.

The family vault is situated in Plymouth Road Cemetery with Harry’s name listed on his father’s tombstone.

Hilary Hide, of Buckinghamshire whose father was Harry Roger’s cousin and carried on the business of monumental masons, occasionally visits the grave when staying with a friend in town. Hilary, who doesn’t remember, the family discussing Harry, expressed that it’s important that the relatives remember him.

She said: ‘His young life was cut short in a very tragic way in a horrific accident that still seems to interest people.The memorial is in need of cleaning and I’m hoping to arrange this. I was very pleased to visit the memorial in Belfast to those who lost their lives and see his name there.’

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