The Shooting of Frank Rogers

Published by BC Labour Heritage Centre on

The Shooting of Frank Rogers(Photo credit: Past Tense Vancouver)

Late in the night on April 13, 1903, labour organizer and longshore worker Frank Rogers was walking home from dinner and stopped by the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks at the foot of Abbott Street in Vancouver, BC, to check on the picketers from the United Brotherhood of Railway Employees. 
There, he was set upon by the CPR Special Police and a scab. After a brief exchange, shots were fired, and Rogers was hit in the stomach. He died in hospital two days later, on April 15th.

The CPR paid the legal fees for the police officer and scab, and no one was ever convicted for Rogers’ murder in the 115 years that have passed. He is buried in Vancouver’s Mountainview Cemetery near Fraser and 33rd. A labour history project in 1986 placed a new gravestone which reads “Frank Rogers / Murdered by a scab in strike against CPR / Died April 15, 1903 / Union organizer and socialist”. Rogers’ grave location is: HORNE1/2/02/018/0011 – you can find its location using our project ‘Putting Working People on the Map’.

 

The entire trade union movement was shocked and outraged, turning out in masses for his funeral. Longshoreman Fitz St. John was prominent among the mourners who marched through drenching rain to the cemetery and recalled the remarkable variety of vehicles that made up the procession in front of the hearse – wagons, buggies, early automobiles and trucks. He kept the old top-hat he wore at the damp, silent wake to his dying day.

Rogers was profiled in an article featured in the Vancouver Sun this year (2018) and continues to be remembered as one of Vancouver’s first labour martyrs.

 

 

 

The Shooting of Frank Rogers

Frank Rogers Dividing Road – right next to one named for Henry Thornton, the CPR President in the 1920’s.
(Photo credit: Past Tense Vancouver)