184478 P/O F W Rogers
Billy Rogers, as he was known to his family and friends, was the only son of the local police Inspector, and his mother will be remembered by some for her work with the Girl Guides.
On joining the Royal Air Force, Billy was later sent for Air Crew training in Canada, where the Empire Air Training Scheme was training pilots and air crew before sending them back to England or the Far East to join their new squadrons.
Sgt Rogers was training for nearly a year, normal for any air crew, before returning and joining 218 Sqd. as an Avro Lancaster bomb-aimer. In this roll he would also man the forward nose gun turret until near the enemy target, when he would climb down into the large glass nose of the Lancaster to check his bomb release switches, his wind drift and bomb aiming sight, prior to the run-up to the target.
On the night of 12/13 September 1944. the target was Frankfurt. Flying in Lancaster NF911 (HA-F), the aircraft was shot down killing the crew, who are buried in the Rheinburg Cemetery, Germany.
It would seem that this was too late for Billy Rogers to know that he had been promoted to Pilot Officer, as some records record him as Sgt, whist those from Commonwealth War Graves Commission show him as an officer.
Another strange occurance was told to me by his niece, in that while she working as a nurse at Newbury, Mr. Rogers contacted her on the morning of 13 September in a distressed state, saying that he had dreamt that Billy had been killed somewhere in Eastern Germany that night. She tried to reassure him, but he continued, saying that the only other time anything like this had happened was on the death of his father, when he had a premonition which came true.
Later that same day he was to receive a telephone call from the squadron commander saying that his son was reported missing and overdue.
Billy and the rest of the crew are buried in the Rheinburg Cemetery, Germany.
- Billy Rogers
- Billy Rogers. (The original framed photograph is in the HHA Archives)
- Rheinburg Cemetery, Germany