Standard bearers line up at funeral of war hero who saved lives of women and children
The family of a war hero who saved the lives of dozens of refugees have said goodbye to “a good man”.
The funeral of Norman Rogers, who died last month at the age of 96, took place at Worcester Crematorium today (Thursday, March 30).
Standard bearers from the Parachute Regiment and the Royal British Legion attended the funeral and the Last Post was played by a bugler after the service.
Mr Rogers’ son, Pastor Roy Rogers, led the service and said his father was a religious man whose faith was put to the test when he entered training for the Second World War.
“He was born on March 27, 1926 in Milford Haven, Wales.
"He didn’t have many happy memories in his early years, so his focus when talking about his past was his family - apart from us - his comrades in the Monmouthshires and the Paras,” said Rev Rogers.
“He really was a war hero, but he always said the real heroes were the men who didn’t come home. And he would tell people how God saved his life.”
Mr Rogers volunteered for service in 1943 and served in Belgium with the Welsh Regiment and later fought the SS Panzer Division in Germany’s Black Forest as a member of the 8th Parachute Regiment, 6th Airborne Division.
“He was known as a crack shot with a Lee-Enfield rifle,” said Rev Rogers.
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“One day he spotted a hundred refugees, including women and children, walking along the road when a bomber appeared from the east and began shooting.
“My father was incensed at this senseless slaughter and opened up from 200 yards, aiming at the cockpit. The plane disappeared from sight but he believed the pilot died at the controls of the plane.”
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Mr Rogers was hospitalised twice during the war and afterwards served for two years in the Middle East before being posted to Brecon, from where he would borrow a bike and make regular 65-mile journeys to visit his future wife, Phyllis, in Worcester.
“They were married for 74 years and had a wonderful life together,” said Rev Rogers.
Mr Rogers moved to Worcester and worked as a manager at the Cinderella Shoe Works in Watery Lane, St John’s. He later worked for the ambulance service, becoming an officer.
He was also a keen dancer and won trophies for his ballroom dancing.
“My father was a good man,” said Rev Rogers. “He wasn’t perfect but he was a good man. And now he’s gone the way of all men. I’m going to miss him a lot.”
Mr Rogers leaves behind sons Roy and Norman, daughter Margaret and wife Phyllis.