Rodgers, Thomas George (Thomas)
No. 126149, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Killed in an aircraft accident on Sunday 8 August 1943 (aged 25)
Knockbreda Cemetery, Co. Down (Section K Grave 443)
Bangor and District War Memorial (as Rogers T.)
Thomas George Rodgers was born on 4 March 1918 at 10 Trevor Street, Holywood and he was the only son of Edward and Frances Rodgers (nee Colville) who were married on 29 November 1916 in Great Victoria Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast. One of at least ten children, Edward Rodgers, who was born in County Louth, was a son of Joseph Rodgers, deceased. One of 18 children, Frances Colville, who was ten years older than Edward Rodgers, was a daughter of Robert Colville, a damask worker.
Edward Rodgers worked as a grocer’s assistant, Frances Colville worked as a linen weaver and, for a time, the Rodgers family lived in Bangor. They also lived in Belfast, at 43 Lisburn Avenue and at 15 Orpen Road, Finaghy. Their daughter Margaret was born on 15 June 1919 at 43 Lisburn Avenue, Belfast.
Thomas George Rodgers was educated in Bangor and was well known in swimming circles. He was captain of Bangor Amateur Swimming Club and he represented Bangor Boys’ Brigade at the BB Jubilee celebrations in 1933 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Thomas George Rodgers enlisted at the outbreak of war and was commissioned in May 1942. He was 25 when he died in a flying accident on 25 March 1943 and it was reported that he had been scheduled to be married on his next leave. Flying Officer Thomas George Rodgers (No. 126149) was one of a two-man crew aboard an Avro Anson aircraft (NS105) from 1510 Flight that was on its approach to land at RAF Leuchars in Fife after a non-operational test flight when it was struck by a Mosquito aircraft from No. 333 (Norwegian) Squadron that was on its approach to land at the same time. Both aircraft crashed to the ground on the boundary of the airfield and all four airmen aboard the two aircraft were killed. The pilot of the Mosquito was Hakon Offerdal and his navigator was Andres Paulson. In addition to Flying Officer Thomas George Rodgers his co-pilot was also killed:
- Flying Officer Allister Francis Shapcott (aged 29), Royal Australian Air Force
Military honours were accorded at Flying Officer Rodgers’s funeral which took place from his parents’ residence to Knockbreda Cemetery. The chief mourners were his father Edward, his uncles Thomas, William and David Colville and his cousins Samuel, Stanley, and Jack Colville. At the time, Jack Colville was serving with the Royal Air Force.
Flying Officer Thomas George Rodgers (No. 126149) is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial (as Rogers T.) and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone in Knockbreda Cemetery:
TO HAVE, TO LOVE, TO LOSE
AND WHEN GOD WILL, TO FIND
In Knockbreda Cemetery his headstone is located beside a Colville headstone commemorating David Colville who died on 8 March 1944 (aged 49) and David’s wife Martha who died on 27 August 1962 (aged 65).