Robert Percy Rogers

Because of his experience and the large number of recruits from the mines, Percy played a leading role in the formation of the 2nd Tunnelling Company.

Robert Percy Rogers was born in Grafton, Ontario, 27 October 1872 and was always known as Percy. He graduated from Royal Military College in 1892 (#277) and received a commission as a Lieutenant - non-permanent status (Militia). In the Militia List of 1894, he was listed as a Captain in the 40th Northumberland Battalion, once commanded by his father Colonel Robert Zacheus Rogers. After graduation, Percy was employed in various positions surveying, drafting at waterworks & sewer construction, mechanical engineering and structural steel work. In 1896, he was resident engineer in charge of construction for the St. Lawrence and Adirondack Division of the New York Central Railroad. By late 1897, he was resident engineer in charge of construction and maintenance for the Montreal & Ottawa Division of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. From 1900 to 1902, Percy was the CPR inspector of switches and signals for the CPR from coast to coast. He was in charge of the construction, operation of the Ramapo Iron Works at Niagara Falls from 1902-04, and from 1904-06, he was the field engineer in charge of construction at the Decew and Kakabeka Falls hydroelectric power plants. Percy was instrumental in the discovery of what later became Coniagas Mines in the town of Cobalt and when the mine became operational in 1906, Percy was appointed assistant to the President and General Superintendent Manager, a position he held until called to active service in 1915.

Because of his experience and the large number of recruits from the mines, Percy played a leading role in the formation of the 2nd Tunnelling Company, Royal Canadian Engineers that later became part of the 37th Battalion. He took this unit to France with the rank of Captain. Later, as Major in command of another company, he took part in the famous Hill 60 counter-tunnelling operations against the German army during the Battle of Messines. When operations at the front became static and supplies had to be carried by rail, he was placed in command of an engineering unit employed in the design, construction and maintenance of a light railway. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the field, and awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his services to the Crown. In addition, he was mentioned in dispatches on at least two other occasions. Percy was presented with his DSO by King George V at Buckingham Palace after peace had been declared. Percy returned to Canada and discharged from active service in Ottawa on 3 July 1919.

After the war, Percy and his family moved to Woodstock and continued to work in the mining industry. In 1934, he was employed by the Federal Government to oversee the planning and construction of the Canadian airport system, a government sponsored unemployment relief project during the Depression. Working at the Tucker Creek camp on the Petawawa Military Reserve, the cabin in which he was living caught fire and burned to the ground. Percy succumbed to his injuries the next day and died at the age of 62 years.

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