Private James Rodgers


The identity of this North Irish Horseman is not clear. He may have been the James Rodgers born on 8 October 1883 at Carrickmore, Taughboyne, County Donegal, the fifth of six children of farmer Robert Rodgers and his wife Elizabeth (nee Mills). The 1901 census shows him living at Carrickmore with his parents and three siblings, his occupation, 'student of classics'. It appears that he later lived in Scotland, returning home in early 1912. However documents relating to the North Irish Horse Rodgers gives his father's name as James, his birth date as 8 May 1883 and his residence is shown as Mondooey, which is at least close to Carrickmore. There was a James Rodgers living at Mondooey who was the right age to be his father, but he is shown in the censuses as being unmarried.

Rodgers enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 19 August and 7 September 1912 (No.732). He embarked for France on 16 August 1914, the day before A Squadron sailed from Dublin and five days before C Squadron left Belfast, although in what capacity he went ahead of the others is not known. He thus became the second North Irish Horseman to land in France during the war.

It is likely that by 1917 Rodgers was serving in B or C Squadrons of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. In September that year the regiment was disbanded and the men were transferred to the infantry. Rodgers, like most, joined the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – on 20 September. He was issued regimental number 41540. He probably saw action with the battalion in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

By March 1918 he had been transferred to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, serving in C Company. The 1st Battalion was in the 'Battle Zone' – the second defensive line – on the St Quentin front when the German spring offensive began on 21 March. Rodgers was one of the many captured that day.

He was held as a prisoner of war at Cassel in Germany until the end of the war.