Kenneth ‘Ken’ Rogers.
Ken Rogers as a young RAF pilot standing by his Spitfire
Kenneth 'Ken' Rogers. (born Umtali, Rhodesia)Once again it has been good to hear (Feb.2006) from someone with information from Rhodesia, in this case Stan Rogers, the son of Ken who I was privileged to know when I worked at Fields Aircraft Services at Salisbury Airport. Ken was one of the Agric Air pilots, a man I knew to be as a very nice person who would be happy to pass the time of day and tell me about his amazing career in the Royal Air Force during the War; also his interest in the complex business of crop spraying which went far beyond getting into the aircraft and flying over fields spraying the chemicals.
Stan tells me that his Father was with 266 Squadron in the RAF which was given the name 'Northern Rhodesia' Squadron. Ken flew Spitfires and then later on Typhoons. Both aircraft true legends in the RAF. Hawker Typhoons were used for the very dangerous ground attack role towards the end of the War requiring an extremely high level of skill, both to hit the target whilst at the same time hoping to avoid being shot down and not flying into the ground, always a serious risk when flying on these operations. Post War he returned to Rhodesia where he flew with the Police Air Wing flying an Auster out of Cranborne searching for illicit breweries in the bush to report to the Police for them to close them down, the brew could be lethal! Ken went on to fly for Agric Air for many years, he was slightly older than the other pilots which meant that he was a very safe and competent pilot, sadly he died some 5 years ago.
Some of the names Stan remembers from the 1950s are Ted Cunnison, Numpie Phillips and Jacklin. He would be interested in hearing from anyone who knew his Father, email either via this website or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan has sent me some wonderful photographs, fortunately he has more and cine film of his Father, a great record of an ex RAF pilot who can be considered a true hero, by my book at least.
On the 29th August 1942 returning to base after escorting Flying Fortresses into enemy (German) held Europe, his Squadron (RAF No. 64 Squadron) flying Spitfires were shot at by a '109' (Messerschimdt bf109). Ken's Squadron (No. 64 Squadron) were the first Squadron to escort what were the new bombers, Flying Fortresses on their first raid over enemy occupied Europe on the 17th August 1942, target Rouen, France which was a daylight raid. 1942 was the year that the RAF was able to take the war to German occupied territory on a regular basis with these dangerous daylight raids, Spitfires were at a disadvantage as they had a short range which limited their time on the other side of the Channel, it says much for Ken that he flew and fought against the Messerschimdt bf109s and later on the Focke Wulf 190s in these dangerous skies and survived. At the time he would have been flying the Spitfire Mk 5 or an even earlier version of the aircraft, it was only when the Spitfire 9 came in that the RAF pilots had an aircraft able to hold its own with the enemy fighters.