A blind veteran from Bexhill made the journey to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday at the Patron’s Lunch.
Great grandfather Tom Rogers, who is also 90, joined other veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK.
The lunch took place on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace and was being held to recognise the more than 600 organisations that hold The Queen’s patronage.
Tom joined the Royal Air Force in 1943. He had basic training at RAF Bridlington and then went on to train as an Air Gunner at RAF Bishop’s Court in Northern Ireland. After completing his training he became part of 207 Squadron based at RAF Spilsby. He went on 26 operations over Germany and shot down two German aircraft.
He says: “It was pretty scary, you never knew which op you were being sent on. During one of the operations I knew a German plane had hit us because of the flames. I thought ‘how dare he!’ and opened fire. He went down after I hit the belly of his plane but I feel sorry for him – it’s a bad way to go.”
Tom left the RAF in 1947 as a Flight Sergeant. After, he studied farming and worked on a dairy farm for 10 years until he changed careers. He ended up working in the travel industry and was with London Underground for 15 years until retiring as an Admin Manager.
Three years ago Tom was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration.
He started receiving free help and support from Blind Veterans UK early last year after a friend at the local blind club mentioned the charity.
Commenting on the celebrations, Tom said: “Tom says: “I had a great time and even though there was some bad weather,
“The food was very good and the parade was interesting. The kids who participated had such enthusiasm and under the circumstances they all did brilliantly.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak to Prince William, but I did get to speak to Prince Edward and his daughter Lady Louise. She handled speaking to the crowds perfectly. All in all I had a marvellous day together with the other veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK.”
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