Top honour awarded to Bexhill war veteran

Tom Rogers. Picture by Margaret Garcia
Tom Rogers. Picture by Margaret Garcia

A veteran, who was part of the RAF’s Bomber Command during the Second World War, has been awarded a prestigious medal by the French government.

Tom Rogers, of Collington Avenue, was given a Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) Chevalier medal for his role in the liberation of France.

He was presented the medal by French Honorary Consul captain François Jean at Bexhill town hall on his 91st birthday on March 16.

Tom said: “I was absolutely delighted to be awarded the medal. At least we got recognition by the French government.

“I served with Bomber Command as a rear gunner in the Lancaster bombers.

“I took part in 26 operations in the war over Norway, Poland, Germany and France.”

Tom was part of the Bomber Command No. 207 Squadron from January 1943 to May 1947.

RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF’s bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. Along with the United States Army Air Forces, it played the central role in the strategic bombing of Germany in the Second World War.

From 1942, the British bombing campaign against Germany increasingly targeted industrial sites and the civilian manpower base essential for German war production.

In total 364,514 operational sorties were flown, 1,030,500 tons of bombs were dropped and 8,325 aircraft lost in action.

Bomber Command crews also suffered a high casualty rate, as 55,573 were killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew.

In Europe Bomber Command’s final operation was in flying released Allied prisoners of war home to Britain in Operation Exodus.

In August 2006, a memorial was unveiled at Lincoln Cathedral and a memorial in Green Park in London was unveiled by the Queen in June 2012 to highlight the price paid by the Bomber Command aircrews.

In 2014, the French President announced at the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day that the Légion d’honneur award would be presented to all war veterans who had taken part in the liberation of France.

A number of former servicemen from Bexhill have been given Légion d’honneur medals recently.

After the war, Tom worked for a number of companies in the travel industry and once had his own firm in London, called Globe International.

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