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Harold Melville Rogers Rank: Flying Officer    Service No. J/10755 Service: Royal Canadian Air Force 421 Squadron Date of Birth: August 4, 1914   Place of Birth: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Date of Enlistment: July 23, 1941 Place of Enlistment: Ottawa, Ontario Address at Enlistment: 36 Charles St., Ottawa, Ontario   Age at Enlistment: 26   Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Complexion: ruddy Hair: black Eyes: hazel Weight: 155 lbs Employment: Clerk, Civil Service Martial Status: Single   Religion: United Church of Canada Next of Kin: Rev. Dr. Alfred S. Rogers (Father) Oxford, NS Harold was born August 4, 1914 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the son of the Revd. Alfred Seymour Rogers and Mabel Gertrude Rogers. He was Baptised at the United Church in Yarmouth on January 7, 1915. He was the brother of Alfred Allison Rogers (Senior Chaplain, Atlantic Coast Command, H.M.C. Dockyard, Halifax, NS - 1943) and Helen Gertrude (Mrs. DeBlois, Toronto - 1943). In 1920, the family had moved to Amherst, NS where Harold attended Public school between 1920 and 1927. In 1927 the family was in St. John, NB where Harold attended St. John High School between 1927 and 1931.  He attended Mount Allison University between 1931 and 11934 where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts and the University of Toronto between 1934 and 1940 where he obtained a Doctorate in Biology.  He served as an Assistant in the Biology Department of the University of Toronto between 1935 and 1940 when he left to join the Civil Service as a Clerk Biologist with the National Parks Bureau in Ottawa.  He left the Civil Service to join the RCAF in February, 1941. During his university days he played football, hockey, and basketball and enjoyed tennis, skating, and skiing. Training as a pilot was at St. Lambert, Valcartier, and Victoriaville, in Quebec, at Stanley in Nova Scotia and Moncton in New Brunswick.  He arrived in the United Kingdom on May 12, 1942 and was posted to No. 5 AFU (Advanced Flying Unit) on June 6, 1942 and was then posted to No. 61 OTU (Operational Training Unit).   On October 23, 1942 he was posted to 421 Squadron.  421 Squadron became operational in May 1942 and while brief periods of combat duty were encountered, the Squadron spend many months on convoy patrol. In January 1943, the Squadron left South Wales and joined the Canadian Wing at HMS Kenley using HMS Redhill as a forward base, an active station in the front line of the air offensive being waged over Northern France. From here the Squadron flew bomber escort patrols, fighter sweeps and ground strafing, with the occasional scramble against enemy bombers.    At 11:47 am on April 3, 1943 Flying Officer Rogers took off with the Squadron on an operational flight and immediately after the take off his Spitfire V. B.(BL 658) aircraft did a spiral dive into the ground and he was killed instantly.  He had lost control of the plane when entering the slipstream of another aircraft during the take off. His funeral took place at Radhill, Surrey on Tuesday, April 6 at 11:00 am.  The service was conducted by Flight Lieutenant J. Jolley, a Canadian Chaplain in the church, after which his body was interred in the churchyard of Redhill.   Full Service Honours were accorded, the coffin being carried by Officers of 421 Squadron, which also provided an escort party. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack and the Last Post was sounded at the end. Wreaths were sent from the Officers of 421 Squadron, RAF Officers and Flying Officer D. A. Brewster.   In a letter to Harold’s parents, Commanding Officer Green wrote, “Hal was very popular with all personnel of this Squadron, and his presence is sorely missed around the Officers’ Mess.” Date of Death: April 3, 1943 Age at Death: 28 Cemetery: Reigate (Redstone) Cemetery, Surrey, UK Grave 58 Commemorated on Page 208 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on April 27 (Not listed on the Yarmouth War Memorial) Sources and Information:   Commonwealth War Graves Commission Veterans Affairs Canada findagrave.com  
Harold Melville Rogers
Photo: julia&keld (Find A Grave) November 17, 2008