Robert ROGERS [????-1885] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Robert ROGERS [????-1885]

Cause of death: 

"Two more deaths occurred among the military under canvas at Kowloon yesterday from choleraic diarrhoea. One of the men, Bombadier (sic) Barton, of the Lancashire divison of Royal Artillery, was taken ill at 6 in the morning and died at 11. The other victim, Rogers, a private in the Buffs, was attacked at about 8 a.m, and died at 1 p.m. It is only just a fortnight since the camp at Kowloon was established and five deaths have occurred in that short period amongst the men quartered there. Besides this there are some twenty or thirty out of the two hundred or so men under canvas on the sick list. It has, we imagine, been abundantly proved that the transfer of these men from barracks to camp at Kowloon has not been at advantageous one as regards the health of the men, and it is high time some more satisfactory arrangements were made for the health of the men."

Source: The China Mail, page 3, 16th July 1885


Buried: Section 32, Row 2, Number 19 Hong Kong Cemetery, Happy Valley, Hong Kong. A close up of the headstone.

Source: Courtesy of Patricia Lim: Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery

32---/02/19- In / memory / of / pte. R Rogers / "F" company 2nd bn. The Buffs E.K.R. / who died at Kowloon / 15th July 1885 / For as in Adam all die, so also in / Christ shall all be made alive / I Cor XV chap XXII verse

Source: Courtesy of Patricia Lim Forgotten Souls: A Social History of the Hong Kong Cemetery 


"Choleraic diarrhoea continues to carry off numerous victims in this colony. On Wednesday two healthy young soldiers died in the camp at Kowloon, and we hear there was another death yesterday. On Wednesday also a little Portuguese girl and an Arabian Jew in the Civil Hospital fell victoms to the malady."

Source: Hong Kong Daily Press, page 2, 17th July 1885 


His first name has been identified as 'Robert'

Source: GRO Army Death Indices (1881 to 1955), British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials; Robert Rogers; Death year: 1885; Country: China; Place: Hong Kong; Page 983; Line Number 140


A little backstory....the 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment ("The Buffs") recently arrived in Hong Kong from Malta to relieve the 1st Battalion of the same regiment:

"ORDERS have been issued from the Quartermaster-General's Office, Horse Guards, directing the 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment, now stationed at Malta, to proceed to Hong Kong and relieve the 1st battalion of the same regiment, which will return to England. The 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment (the Buffs), Colonel S. Graves command, has been on foreign service since 1876."

Source: Portsmouth Evening News, page 3, 20th August 1885  

Found this...

"WE are glad to hear that the detachments from the 'Buffs' and the Lancashire Battery of Royal Artillery, which have been for the last week or two quartered over at Kowloon, under canvas, were transferred during yesterday afternoon and this morning to Stanley, where part of the men have been quartered in the Military Bungalow there, the rest going into camp under canvas. The Police who was recently quartered in the military bungalow there, removed into the newly-repaired Police Station at Stanley yesterday morning. It is to be hoped that Stanley will prove to be more conducive to the health of the men than the camp on the ranges at Kowloon has done."

Source: The China Mail, page 2, 17th July 1885  

It would seem the newspapers of the day got their Battalions of the Buffs mixed up (see my earlier posting). The following correspondence of a father of an officer was none too pleased with the announcement of the re-deployment of the 1st Battalion to "wretched" Hong Kong. Cross-referencing the regimental history, the 1st Bat. was in Malta from 1885 and the 2nd was in Hong Kong since 1882.



SIR, - The papers this day notify to the public that the 1st Battalion of the Buffs - by the new-fangled nomenclature, the East Kent Regiment - is about to be sent to Hong Kong, to replace the 2d Battalion, ordered home, and I submit that this is most unfair and cruel to the regiment. The 2d Battalion has already been nearly four years in Hong Kong, two years being the usual time on account of the great unhealthiness of the station, and now the other battalion is to go there, which means that officers who, on promotion, have been transferred (not exchanged) from one battalion to the other will find themselves again relegated to this wretched place after a respite of a few months, it may be of a few weeks. Surely this is not the way to make the service popular, and I should think it more than probable that there will be a wholescale scuttling from the regiment in order to escape a second period of existence in such a desirable (?) climate. Might I suggest the advisability of changing the territorial title of the Buffs from the "East Kent" to the "Hong Kong Regiment?" - Your obedient servent, 


Source: Morning Post, page 5, 27th August 1885


"The 2nd Battalion of the East Kent Regiment - The Buffs - is expected to embark at Hong Kong, for return to England, on the 10th or 15th October next."

Source: Whitstable Times and Hearne Bay Herald, page 4, 12th September 1885