Private G/1852 Woodgate, Rowland Alfred, Royal West Kent Regiment

Woodgate, Rowland Alfred. DoD: 24/10/1918. Age 28. Son of: Alfred & Elizabeth Woodgate of Capel Manor Gardens, Horsmonden, Kent. Occ: Gardener Unit Text: 2nd Bn. Royal West Kent Regt. Cemetery: BAGHDAD (NORTH GATE) WAR CEMETERY

Rowland was born in Oxted, Surrey and shortly after the family moved to Horsmonden, living at Capel Manor Gardens where Rowland’s father was gardener for the Austen family of Capel Manor.

Rowland joined the Royal West Kent Regiment on 4th September 1914 and a year later landed in France with the British Expeditionary Force.

In March 1917, Rowland embarked on HMTS ‘Royal George’ for Basra, Iraq where his unit was part of the ill-fated Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force.

In October 1918 Rowland was admitted to hospital with a head wound which became infected and sadly, he died on the 24th October.

It is moving to read that his father received Rowland’s private possessions that included his dog-tag disc, a purse with two threepenny pieces, personal photos, postcards, his wallet, diary, Christmas card, letters, cap badge, cigarette case, papers and a letter cover. It is very hard to imagine how Rowlands father, Albert, felt at receiving the package containing these possessions.

Alfred became Hon. Secretary of the Horsmonden War Memorial Committee which raised funds and erected the permanent War Memorial at Horsmonden on which his son Rowland is honoured.