The Tebbutt Family at War: Louis and his three sons, Oswold, Roger and Charles.
Roger was the third of five Tebbutt children and the second son. He was born on 11th February 1894 and, like his older brother, went off to boarding school when of age. He attended Marlborough College where he later became a Prefect and the Head Boy of Summerfield House. In his last three years at the college Roger also became heavily involved with the school’s Officer Training Corps and reached the rank of Corporal.
After leaving Marlborough in July 1912 Roger returned to Cambridge and was accepted at King’s College, Cambridge. In late September he joined his brother in the Territorial Force and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in C Company of The Cambridgeshire Regiment. He was promoted to Lieutenant during the annual camp of 1914 and mobilised when war broke out.
In preparation for overseas service the formation of the battalion was changed from eight companies to four larger companies. Roger joined the new B Company as the commander of 5 Platoon and sailed for the Western Front on 14th February 1915.
Several days after his brother Oswold was killed Roger was hospitalised with mumps and spent time at the 14th Stationary Hospital. After C Company lost nearly all their officers on 5-6th May at Fosse Wood Roger took over as the company commander. His time with C Company however was cut short several days later when he was hit by shrapnel while out on patrol. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his back, buttocks and right arm as well as suffering from the effects of shock.
Roger was quickly evacuated back to the UK and sent to the 4th London General Hospital at Denmark Hill. While recovering he was promoted to Captain and by September was fit enough to return to duty. The following month he was back with the battalion on the Western Front and was given command of D Company.
In July 1916 Roger was moved over temporarily to A Company. Several weeks later he was wounded badly for the second time while on patrol. He was hit while crawling, the bullet tearing across his back, leaving a bad wound. Once again he was evacuated to the England and sent to Kitchener Hospital at Brighton. He returned to duty at the end of 1916 and spent time with the Cambs’ Reserve Battalions and as an instructor at the Officer Cadet Battalion at Cambridge.
In July 1918, after the German Spring Offensive, Roger returned to the Western Front and was attached to the 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment. In August preparations were made for a large-scale attack near Becourt and, as part of it, Roger was moved from the 11th to the 10th Battalion, Essex Regiment and given command of A Company. During the attack on 23rd August he was wounded in the hand but continued on after it was bandaged. A short time later he was caught directly in the blast of a German shell and killed instantly.
He is now buried at Albert Communal Cemetery and is listed on the memorials at Ely Cathedral, King’s College, and St Paul’s, Cambridge. His friend and fellow Cambs officer, Colonel Clayton, wrote of Roger and his brother Oswold:
Roger hated the war, though he was a very brave man. Of a scholarly temperament, he was the complement of his brother Oswold, whose death at St Eloi cut short a career which would have ended as a General Staff officer.
This site went live on the 14th February 2015 to mark 100 years since the 1/1st Cambs went off to war.
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