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Captain William RODGER 6/978 M.C., D.C.M. | by SandyEm
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Captain William RODGER 6/978 M.C., D.C.M.

6/978 Captain

W[illiam] J[ames] RODGER M.C., D.C.M.

Canterbury Regiment

Died 17 May 1945

Aged 61



Military Cross

Distinguished Conduct Medal

[portrait in comments section]


Block 1G RSA Plot 17

Occupation at death: Farmer

Born: 2 September 1883, New Zealand


Prior to WW1:

Enrolled in Canterbury Highland Rifle Volunteers 28 February 1905 then transferred to 1st Canterbury Regiment, serving until 11 April 1914.

Including war service, continuous service 28 Feb 1905 until 31 May 1919 – 17 years 234 days


Theatres of operation:

Egyptian 1914-1915

Gallipoli 1915

Western European 1917-1918


Occupation August 1914: Carpenter

Fresh complexion; Gray eyes; Dark brown hair; Presbyterian. Few patches of Psoriasis.


Sun, Volume II, Issue 457, 28 July 1915, Page 8

Sergeant W. J. Rodger, who has won the Distinguished Conduct Medal, is 30 years of age, and a member of the 1st (Canterbury) Regiment of the Main Expeditionary Force. Prior to his enlistment, Sergeant Rodger was a keen participator in various sports and athletics. He was captain of the Christchurch Swimming Club for a number of years. He was also an enthusiastic footballer, having played for the Albion and Merivale Clubs. He is a native of Canterbury, and was educated at the West Christchurch School. He is one of seven brothers, another of whom has also enlisted. Sergeant Rodger obtained his promotion as Platoon Sergeant on the day his regiment sailed for Egypt. The letter received from the Minister of Defence by his sister, Miss Rodger, who lives at 238 Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch, is as follows: "I have very much pleasure in informing you that I have received a cable from General Godley, the Officer Commanding the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula, advising that his Majesty has graciously conferred the Distinguished Conduct Medal upon 6/978 Sergeant W. J. Rodger.—(Signed) James Allen, Minister of Defence."[1]


“Extract from the Third Supplement to London Gazette dated 3rd September, 1915.

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL to the undermentioned officer for gallantry and distinguished service in the Field.

For Conspicuous gallantry on the night of the 4th and 5th June 1915, at Quinn’s Post (Dardanelles.)

During a sortie Sergeant Rodger was in charge of a party of men, and although seriously wounded by a bayonet-thrust he refused to retire.

He exhibited throughout the night the greatest coolness and bravery, and gave to all with him a fine example of devotion to duty.” [Military records]

Signed receipt by William of receiving the medal on 24 November 1919


Promoted 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant – 19 September 1917



Extract from 2nd Supplement to London Gazette of 3rd October, 1919.

Military Cross

Lieut. (Temporary Captain) William James Rodger, D.C.M., 1st Battalion, Canterbury Regiment.

Awarded D.C.M. for conspicuous gallantry and good leadership. During the operations in the vicinity of the Foret-de-Mormal pm 5th November 1918 he was in command of the support company when the left leading company was surrounded by the enemy he promptly led his company forward and relieved a very difficult situation. He then re-organized [sic] the two Companies and under heavy fire captured the edge of the wood on his sector.



Evening Post, Volume XC, Issue 96, 21 October 1915, Page 4

Noted as Dangerously ill, New Zealand General Hospital, Cairo; typhoid). [2] and 8 days later removed from dangerous list [3]


Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXV, Issue 8316, 8 December 1915, Page 5

N.Z. General Hospital, Cairo, September 18.

Dear Winnie, l was pleased to receive the parcel you sent to a Canterbury soldier, and the chocolate was very nice and we enjoyed reading the newspapers, as they made us think of home. You are a very good writer for a girl only eight years old. Just now I suppose you will be getting some pet lambs and looking after them, and I would like to be home for Christmas to have some Canterbury lamb, but I think we shall be fighting in snow or Gallipoli. So good-bye Winnie.

6/978, Sergt. W. J. Rodger, D.C.M., A Company. Cant. Inf. Batt., N.Z. Brigade.

Winnie Nevin, Std. 1, Allenton School.[4]


Returned via the Maheno c30 December 1915 [5] and ship was quarantined at Auckland on arrival due to Enteric fever carriers. [6]


3 October 1919 granted 28 days privilege leave after returning on SS “Adolph Woermann”


Final discharge 31 October 1919, intended address: Ethelton, North Canterbury


Sister signed for receipt of NZ Territorial Service Medal 29 September 1919 as William was on active service

NZ Service Medal

Sister signed for receipt of NZ Long and Efficient Service Medal 29 September 1919


1914-1915 Star; wound stripes 5 June 1915

British War Medal; 1 red Chevron

Victory Medal; 4 blue chevrons


His Cenotaph database record:


His probate is available:


Press, Volume LVII, Issue 17052, 25 January 1921, Page 2


WHITHAM—RODGER. On 19th inst. a very pretty wedding was solemnised at St. David's Church, Colombo street, by the Rev. J. D. Webster when Miss Dorothy Whitham, second daughter of Mr and Mrs B. Whitham,110 Huxley street, was married to Mr W. J. Rodger, of Ethelton, late captain N.Z.E.F. The bride, who was given away by her brother, Mr W. J. Whitham looked charming in a shell-pink crepe-de-chene frock, with the orthodox veil and a trail of gold leaves, and carried a bouquet of roses. Tho bridesmaid, Miss Muriel Wilson, wore a frock of saxe blue crepe-de-chene, with a black tulle hat, and carried a beautiful bouquet of apricot roses. Mr Angus Rodger acted as best man. After the ceremony the guests were entertained at the residence of the bride's parents, where a dainty breakfast was served. Later in the day Mr and Mrs Rodger left on their honeymoon, the bride travelling in a check costume and tuscan straw hat.[9]


William was the son of William and Lucy RODGER

Lucy died 31 August 1914, aged 65 and is buried in Addington Cemetery, Christchurch Plot 722B

William died 25 July 1893, aged 52 years* and is buried in Addington Cemetery, Christchurch Plot 722B


He had 10 siblings:

Brother: John; birth registration 1873/17701

Noted on brother James’ military records as living at Nelson Street, Petone, Wellington c1915


Brother: Angus Alexander; birth registration 1874/37793

Died 7 May 1942, buried Addington Cemetery, Christchurch, Plot 722C


Sister: Jane Cunningham; birth registration 1876/1759

Died 1 July 1952, aged 74, buried Addington Cemetery, Christchurch, Plot 722A **


Brother: Kenneth McKay; birth registration 1878/1984

Married Mabel Jane HOWARD; marriage registration 1911/5961

He died c1960 aged 82; death registration 1960/22628


Sister: Mary Catherine; birth registration 1879/13945

Died 5 July 1879, aged 5 months, buried Addington Cemetery, Christchurch, Plot 722A


Brother: Daniel McKay; birth registration 1880/6267

Married Margaret STORY; marriage registration 1907/1240. His surname is noted as RODGERS in historic BDM indexes

He died c1950 aged 70. His surname is noted as RODGERS in historic BDM indexes


Sister: Mary; birth registration 1881/13042

Married Arthur Francis WEBB; marriage registration 1910/4721. Arthur is noted in Mary’s brother James’s military records as being a Stock buyer in 1917 and was executor of James’s Will. Mary and Arthur lived at 34 Aylmer Street, Spreydon, Christchurch.


Brother: Hugh Henry; birth registration 1885/3493

Served in WW1 – military number 58600; Rank Corporal

Born 2 Feb 1885, Christchurch; Signal Erector for NZ Railways

March 26 1918 sustained gun shot wounds in shoulder, wrist - France

Discharged due to being no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received.

His military records:

He died 2 April 1948 and is buried In Addington Cemetery, Christchurch, plot 722C


Brother: James Cunningham; birth registration 1887/2677

Born 18 May 1889 [birth year differs to birth registration above]

Served in WW1; Service no. 25/459; Rank - Corporal

Killed in action 23 September 1916, Somme, France; named - Caterpillar Valley NZ Memorial

His conduct sheet notes 5 Dec 1917 [error as he died previous to this] as offending due to failing to salute an officer of H.M. Forces, London.


Press, Volume LII, Issue 15721, 14 October 1916, Page 10

“Corporal James Cunningham Rodger (killed on September 23rd) was the youngest son of the late Mr William Rodger, of 238 Moorhouse Avenue. He was 28 years of age, and was educated at the West Christchurch School. On leaving school he entered the service of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, and was stationed at various times in the Lyttelton, Christchurch, and Gisborne branches. He was a member of the Merivale Football Club and Christchurch Swimming Club, being particularly well known in swimming circles. One of Corporal Rodger's brothers Sergeant W. J. Rodger—left with the Main Body, went through the Gallipoli campaign where he gained the D.C.M., and was twice wounded, and returned to New Zealand invalided at the beginning of this year. Sergeant Rodger is now in camp at Trentham, and leaves with the 22nd Reinforcements. The late Corporal Rodger, both of whose parents' are dead, leaves six brothers and three sisters. One of the sisters is Mrs A. Webb, of Aylmer street.”[9]


His Cenotaph database record:

His military records:


Sister: Grace Dykes; birth registration 1889/13784

Married Reginald Aubrey DARTNALL [sic]; marriage registration 1919/7861.

A child, Marie Gram DARTNELL [sic] aged 1 day died 20 July 1923 and is buried in Addington Cemetery, Christchurch Plot 722B



A stillborn child, surname RODGERS [sic] born 13 August 1891 is buried in Addington Cemetery, Christchurch, plot 722C. This may have been another child of William and Lucy’s




Cemetery database

NZ Department Internal Affairs historic BDM indexes

Military records

*Online cemetery database has surname spelt RODGERS

**Online cemetery database has her name as Jeannie













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Taken on June 22, 2014