25 November 2010

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Major General Robert Montresor Rogers,
44th Regiment ( Essex Regiment )

  • Victoria Cross
  • Companion, Order of the Bath ( CB )
  • Crimea Medal ( 1854-56 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Sebastopol"
  • Second China War Medal ( 1857-60 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Taku Forts 1860"
  • South Africa Medal ( 1877-79 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "1879"
  • Turkish Crimea Medal ( 1855-56 )

The Victoria Cross and campaign medals awarded to Major General Robert Montresor Rogers, 44th Regiment, ( The Essex Regiment ), have been sold at auction by Spink of London on the 25 November 2010. The group realised a sale hammer price of £180,000. The group was purchased on behalf of the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection.

The Second China War ( 1846-47 ) was concluded after lengthy negotiations leading to the Treaty of Tientsin in June 1858, which opened eleven more ports to European trade, allowed European missions into Peking and guaranteed the safety of missionaries and travellers in China. The British and French commissioners set sail up the Pei-ho River to ratify the treaty, but their vessels were fired on from the three Taku Forts at the swampy mouth of the river. A combined Ango-French expedition under Lieutenant General Sir James Hope Grant and General de Montauban landed at Peh-Tang on 1st August 1860 to teach the Chinese a lesson - so initiating the Second China War.

The force, some ten thousand British and seven thousand French, advanced almost unopposed, but were halted before the Taku Forts while engineers set about making roads to cross the surrounding swamps. The assault to take the forts was launched on 21st August 1860, during which action seven men earned the award of the Victoria Cross. After fierce fighting, the combined force took the forts and carried on towards Peking with the objective of ratifying the Tientsin Treaty, arriving in early October. The Chinese finally signed the Treaty of Peking on the 24th October 1860, ratifying the former treaty, adding Tientsin to the tally of open ports and ceding Kowloon to Britain on a ninety-nine-year lease.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 13 August 1861 ], Taku Forts, China, 21 August 1861, Lieutenant Robert Montresor Rogers, 44th Regiment ( Essex Regiment ).

With Private John McDougall, 44th Regiment, and Lieutenant Edmund Lenon, 67th Regiment

For distinguished gallantry in swimming the Ditches, and entering the North Taku Fort by an embrasure during the assault. They were the first of the English established on the walls of the Fort, which they entered in the order in which their names are here recorded ( Rogers RM, McDougall J, Lenon EH ) each one being assisted by the others to mount the embrasure.

Robert Rogers was invested with his Victoria Cross by CinC India, Sir Hugh Rose, in Bengal, India, on the 22nd November 1862.

John McDougall was invested with his Victoria Cross by GOC Belgaum, Brigadier General Frank Adams, Belgaum, India, on the 2nd October 1862.
Edmund Henry Lenon was invested with his Victoria Cross by GOC Ireland, General Sir George Brown, Kilmainham, Ireland, on the 19th August 1862.

Major General Robert Rogers died on the 5th February 1895, aged 60, at Maidenhead, Berkshire, and was buried in All Saint's Churchyard, Maidenhead.


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Iain Stewart, 25 November 2010