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Remembering World War II
William Bennet Rogers Warrant Officer Class II R/176991 435 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force November 7, 1922 Halifax, NS September 11, 1942 Halifax, NS 19 5 feet, 9½ inches Medium Brown Brown Single Clerk Anglican William Rogers (Father) 21 Vernon St., Halifax, NS June 21, 1945 22 Taukkyan War Cemetery, Burma (Myanmar) 14. F. 15. Commemorated on Page 559 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on November 23 William Rogers was the son of William and Nellie Collins (Fultz) Rogers, of Halifax, Nova Scotia and the brother of James and Allan Rogers. Having completed grade ten at the Halifax Academy in 1940 and Nova Scotia Technical Night School courses in bookkeeping and electricity in 1939 and 1940, William was employed with A. M. Bell and Company as a clerk, Halifax until his enlistment in September of 1942. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, played hockey, rugby, basketball, football, baseball and had an interest in photography. Warrant Officer Rogers served in Canada between September 1942 and March 1944. He disembarked in the United Kingdom on April 2, 1944. In October 1944 he transferred to India and joined Squadron 435 in Tulihal India on October 10, 1944. This RCAF squadron was formed in Gujarat, India during the Burma Campaign, flying the Douglas Dakota in support of the Fourteenth Army. At 11:55 am on the morning of June 21, 1945 the aircraft Dakota IV.N.563 with a crew of six, including William Rogers serving as pilot departed their base at Tulihal in India to carry supplies to the British 14th Army at Myitkina, Burma. They failed to return from the operation. Searches for the lost plane were carried out without success. However, on June 24, 1945 it was determined from unofficial information that the wreckage of the plane had been located, apparently having crashed into the side of a hill. Initially listed as missing and once hostilities with Japan ended and further investigation was completed the crew were officially listed as killed in action in 1946 although the bodies were never recovered or the crash site confirmed. In 1995, a hunter walking through the jungle discovered parts of a man’s inscribed watch. In November of that year, Burmese Government officials reported finding wreckage from a Dakota in the general area where the Royal Canadian Air Force plane had been reported missing. The watch was soon identified as belonging to W. J. Kyle, who was the second pilot of the crashed Dakota. The watch was a farewell gift inscribed with his name by his parents. Veterans Affairs Canada organized teams consisting of both VAC and National Defence personnel to conduct a mission which would result in the recovery of the remains of the crew of the Dakota aircraft with the marking KN 563. The crash site was a ravine with a steep slope, and the plane had broken up into hundreds of pieces scattered over an area of about 30 square metres. The team recovered human remains for burial, much wreckage, none of it more than a half metres across, and the plane’s propeller, identification number and roundel from the fuselage On March 5, 1997 the remains of the six airmen were buried together in a teak casket in the Taukkyan War Cemetery on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma). The funeral service was the final farewell to Warrant Officer Class II William Rogers, Flying Officer William Kyle of Perth, Ontario, Flight Sergeant Charles McLaren of Campbellville, Ontario, Flying Officer David Cameron of Oshawa, Ontario, Warrant Officer Stanley Cox of Beresford, Manitoba, and Leading Aircraftman Cornelius Kopp of Duchess, Alberta. Organized by Veterans Affairs Canada, a burial delegation was led by Secretary of State for Veterans Lawrence MacAulay. It included 26 next of kin and 23 veterans from the wartime 435 and 436 Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons. The six crew members were given full military honour. Veterans marched in procession to the grave side, Canadian soil was placed on the casket, the bugler sounded the haunting notes of the Last Post to the piper playing the Flowers of the Forest, and posthumous medals and a folded flag were handed to representatives of each family.
William Bennet Rogers
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National Film Board Go on a mission into the Burmese jungle to recover the remains of this RCAF crew lost during World War II. During an emotional funeral near Rangoon, the missing soldiers are finally been laid to rest with full military honours. Their lives and wartime experiences are recalled through the memories of colleagues and families. Directed by Garth Pritchard - 1997