Sergeant Frederick Charles William Rogers
On 17th November, 1936, No.46 squadron lost Sgt. Fred Charles William Rogers, when he crashed his Gloster Gauntlet II, (K7795), into a hill at Pepperscombe Farm, Steyning, in Sussex.
He had been en route to Tangmere, trying to beneath the cloud in deteriorating weather conditions.
Mr. Glynn, a commercial traveller, described what happened:
As I was driving through the main street, I heard the roar of the engine and then the crash but could see nothing because of the mist.
On 18th November ‘The Belfast News Letter’ reported:
People in the district began a search after seeing the ‘plane vanish into the isolated country at the foot of the Downs. They found it wrecked, with the pilot inextricably trapped in the debris.
It seems to have been 7 hours before Sgt. Rogers’ body was recovered from the wreckage, but it is unclear whether this was due to the difficulty of finding the crash site in the mist or because he was trapped in the wreckage.
Fred Charles William Rogers was born 28th January, 1908, in Lymington, Hampshire. He was the eldest son of Frederick Henry Rogers, a law clerk from Boldre, who was well known in the area as a committee member for Lymington Conservative Club and Lymington Cottage Hospital. His Mother was Ellen Rogers (nee Crouch). Fred had two sisters Jessica and Laura. In addition, a newspaper report mentions two brothers, the youngest of whom was in the RAF, stationed in Jerusalem.
Fred was educated in Brockenhurst before joining the RAF on 2nd September, 1924, as a 16 year old Aircraft apprentice and training at the Electrical and Wireless School. In August 1927, he re-mustered as a Wireless Operator Mechanic and joined No.13 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, probably at Andover. At this time the squadron were equipped with the Armstrong Whitworth Atlas.
In 1929, Fred was posted to India, where he served for two years, followed by postings to Egypt and Transjordania. At the time of his death, he had been a pilot for four years, so his flying training must have commenced around 1932. He suffered several crashes but no serious injuries.
In 1935, Fred married Phyllis Gwendoline Fry in Portsmouth and was almost immediately posted to Sudan, where he spent the next 7 months. It appears that the couple had a baby boy called Terry. Phyllis re-married sometime in late 1939/1940, to Cecil John Lee.
Sgt. Rogers was 28 years old when he died.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.