The Remarkable Second World War D.S.O., D.F.C. and Bar Group of Twenty-Five to Lieutenant-General R.H. Rogers, South African Air Force, a Very Gallant and Distinguished Squadron Commander in the North African and Italian Campaigns

Lot 948 / Sale 1232
<b>the remarkable second world war d.s.o., d.f.c. and bar group of twenty-five to lieutenant-general r.h. rogers, south african air force, a very gallant and distinguished squadron commander in the north african and italian campaigns</b>

Price Realized £8,280
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

  • £5,000 - £7,000
  • ($8,006 - $11,208)

Sale Information Sale 1232
Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals and Militaria
30 November 1999
Spink London

Lot Description The Remarkable Second World War D.S.O., D.F.C. and Bar Group of Twenty-Five to Lieutenant-General R.H. Rogers, South African Air Force, a Very Gallant and Distinguished Squadron Commander in the North African and Italian Campaigns

(a) South Africa, Order of the Star of South Africa, Military Division, Grand Cross set of insignia, comprising Collar Chain and Badge, sash Badge and Star, gold and enamel (all Hallmarked), with a single diamond set in the centre of the Star and both Badges, the reverses of which are officially numbered '3', with full sash riband, in South African Mint case of issue
(b) Southern Cross Medal 1952, silver and enamel, officially numbered '84'
(c) South African Korea Medal (Capt.)
(d) Pro Patria Medal, officially numbered '52'
(e) Defence Force Good Service Medal, in gold and silver-gilt, officially numbered '15'
(f) Defence Force Good Service Medal, silver, officially numbered '19' (g) Union Medal, silver, officially numbered '1062'
(h) Chief of S.A.D.F. Commendation Medal, bronze, officially numbered '169'
(i) Great Britain, Distinguished Service Order, G.VI.R., reverse of suspension bar officially dated '1945'
(j) Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., with Bar for Second Award, the reverse of the Cross officially dated '1942' and the Bar '1944'
(k) 1939-45 Star, officially named
(l) Africa Star, officially named
(m) Italy Star, officially named
(n) Africa Service Medals 1939-45, officially named
(o) War Medal 1939-45, M.I.D. Oakleaf, officially named
(p) United States of America, Distinguished Flying Cross
(q) Air Medal, with Chief of S.A.D.F. Commendation Emblem on riband
(r) U.N. Korea Medal (Capt.)
(s) South Korea, Order of Military Merit, Third Class breast Badge, silver-gilt and enamel, officially numbered '19002', with silver star on riband
(t) South Korea Service Medal, bronze
(u) Chile, Order of Military Merit, Grand Cross set of insignia, comprising sash Badge and breast Star, silvered-bronze, gilt centres, with full sash riband, in case of issue, generally good very fine (25)

Lot Notes Sold with a large quantity of original Warrants or Certificates of Award, including those for the D.S.O. (dated 21.8.1945); Order of the Star of South Africa (dated 18.6.1976); Southern Cross Medal (dated 13.5.1960); S.A.D.F. Good Service Medal, Silver (dated 29.7.1977) and Bronze (dated 29.7.1977); Union Medal (dated 8.5.1959); S.A.D.F. Commendation Medal (dated 2.4.1976); Pro Patria Medal (dated 19.8.1977); Mention in Despatches Certificate (dated 1.1.1943); other documentation appertaining to the recipient's Honours and Awards from Chile, Korea and Paraguay; and several wartime photographs.

D.S.O. London Gazette 21.8.1945. Recommendation states 'Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers assumed command of 40 Squadron, S.A.A.F., in August 1944. Since then he has carried out 56 operational missions involving 80.30 hours flying. Every one of these missions, which consisted of Tactical, Photographic and Artillery Reconnaissance, was carried out with great skill and determination and produced first class results.

On 23 March 1945, Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers was briefed to carry out a shoot with 54th Super Heavy Regiment on some heavy A.A. guns near Massa Lombarda. On approaching the target area, these guns opened up on his aircraft. He commenced immediately to range our own guns onto the enemy and through his skill, coolness and presence of mind, scored in a very short space of time, five rounds between the four gunpits, one of which actually landed in a gunpit, destroying the gun and starting a cordite fire. He then proceeded effectively to engage and destroy two camouflaged field guns in the immediate vicinity.

Again, on 18 April 1945, a request was received from 8th Army for an oblique line overlap of ten miles of the Canale Bianco between the Po and Adige rivers. This mission had to be performed at 5000 feet, flying straight and level through what was known to be a heavily defended area, at a constant speed of 230 m.p.h. Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers decided to carry out this mission himself, knowing it to be a dangerous one, and by his skilful flying brought back excellent photographs of the whole area required.

As a leader, he was magnificent, and on many occasions he persevered with Artillery Reconnaissance missions in the face of intense Anti-Aircraft fire. If ever there was a difficult task to be performed, Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers invariably did it himself, and never failed to complete it, whatever the opposition. It is true to say that all ranks of the Wing have tremendous admiration for his steadfast courage and devotion to duty, and his untiring efforts in the air and on the ground are greatly responsible for the efficiency of the Squadron which he commands. I cannot speak too highly of the ability of this Officer both as a Tactical Reconnaissance Pilot and Squadron Commander, and strongly recommend him for a non-immediate award of the D.S.O.'.

D.F.C. London Gazette 6.10.1942. Recommendation states 'Lieutenant Rogers, 208 Squadron, was detailed on 15.8.1942 to carry out a Tactical Reconnaissance on the Front from the coast to Siba Depression. The enemy has for sometime been energetically denying reconnaissance of the area and strong fighter opposition was to be expected. This Officer had one Hurricane accompanying him. Towards completion of the task these two Hurricanes were intercepted by four Me. 109s. In the ensuing engagement the accompanying Hurricane was quickly hit in the engine and forced to land. Lieutenant Rogers then fought the four enemy fighters who attacked him repeatedly. One shot severed the throttle control at the same time shooting away the Pilot's little finger and the top joint of the third finger of his left hand. In spite of these injuries and with only half the throttle control remaining he continued to fight and in the end successfully outmanoeuvred the enemy and landed at his aerodrome. There in spite of injuries and loss of blood, he completed a most valuable report before reporting for medical attention. Lieutenant Rogers displayed fighting skill and courage of the highest order and set a fine example of devotion to duty'.

Bar to D.F.C. London Gazette 25.1.1944. Recommendation states 'This Officer has completed 102 Tactical Reconnaissance flights during two tours of duty. In August 1941 he joined 208 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron R.A.F. and during his tour with the Squadron did 46 operational flights. In an engagement with enemy fighters during the 46th operation, while over Alamein, he was wounded and his aircraft badly damaged. He managed to bring his aircraft safely home and landed successfully with valuable information. He was then sent back to the Union to rest and recover from his wound. For his courage, determination and devotion to duty on this first tour he was awarded the D.F.C.

In January 1943, Lieutenant Rogers returned to the Middle East and joined 40 Squadron at Marble Arch. During the advance to Tunis, the invasion of Sicily and recently in Italy, he has completed a further 56 operational flights. The oblique Photographic Reconnaissance done by him of the East Coast of Sicily, and subsequently of the West Coast of the toe of Italy, at extremely low level, have been of outstanding value to the Army and have earned for him the personal thanks and congratulations of the 13th Corps Commander.

On 12 August 1943, during a heavy enemy bombing raid at Francesco, a petrol dump was set on fire. Major Rogers collected several N.C.Os and Air Mechanics and with complete disregard for danger or injury to himself, commenced rolling away petrol drums from the fire while the raid was still on. His prompt action and initiative resulted in the major portion of the petrol being saved.

On 20 August 1943, he did some brilliant spotting for H.M.S. Uganda, which enabled her to put out of action a Coastal Defence gun position South of Reggio, Calabria. This Officer was promoted to Flight Commander on 8 March 1943 and acted, very ably, as Commanding Officer during a month's period of domestic trouble in the Squadron during the C.Os and 2nd I.Cs absence. He was promoted to 2nd in Command in August 1943. His magnificent example and leadership during the present tour has been a source of pride and inspiration to his Pilots'.

Lieutenant-General Robert Harry Rogers, D.S.O., D.F.C., was born in Warden, Orange Free State in November 1921 and educated at Marchiston and Maritzburg College. His subsequent studies at Witwatersrand University as a Medical Student were interrupted in June 1940 by his joining the South African Air Force, in which Service he qualified as an Air Gunner prior to training as a Pilot in Southern Rhodesia.

As evidenced by the above Recommendations, he went on to serve with distinction in 208 and 225 Squadrons, R.A.F., and 40 Squadron, S.A.A.F., participating in numerous operations over North Africa, Sicily and Italy. In addition to the D.S.O. and D.F.C. with Bar, he was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Polish Flying Badge by the C.-in-C., Polish Air Force.

Accepting a permanent Commission in the South African Air Force after the War, Rogers was back in action in Korea as a Fighter Bomber Pilot in No. 2 Squadron, flying Mustangs and F 86 Sabres, receiving among other awards the American D.F.C. and Air Medal, with Oak Leaf Cluster, and South Korean Order of Military Merit. On returning to South Africa, he held various commands and Staff posts, culminating in his appointment as Chief of the Air Force in March 1975 and being awarded the Order of the Star of South Africa. Rogers finally retired from the S.A.A.F. in 1979 as a Lieutenant-General.

In retirement Rogers was active in civic affairs and in 1988 was elected Deputy Mayor of Knysna. In the following year he was elected local Chairman of the Democratic Party and in September 1989 successfully fought the election as the Party's candidate in Walmer, Port Elizabeth. He did not stand for re-election in 1994.

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