Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Bob Rogers (SAAF officer)

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Nickname(s)  Bob
Rank  Lieutenant General
Name  Bob Rogers
Service/branch  South African Air Force
Battles and wars  World War II, Korean War
Allegiance  South Africa
Service number  106121/102299V
Role  Airman
Other work  Member of Parliament
Bob Rogers (airman)
Born  7 November 1921 Warden, Orange Free State, South Africa (1921-11-07)
Battles/wars  World War II Korean War
Awards  Star of South Africa (SSA) Southern Cross Medal (SM) Distinguished Service Order (DSO) Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar (United Kingdom) (DFC and Bar) Distinguished Flying Cross (USA) Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster (USA)
Died  2000, Cape Town, South Africa

Lieutenant-General Robert Harry Doherty Rogers SSA SM MMM DSO DFC & bar (1921-2000) was a Chief of the South African Air Force. He joined the South African Air Force (SAAF) in 1940, and served in World War II and the Korean War. He subsequently rose through the ranks to become Chief of the SAAF. After his military career he entered politics and served as a Member of Parliament.


Early life

Bob Rogers (SAAF officer) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbb

He was born in Warden in the Orange Free State, South Africa, on 7 November 1921. He won his Springbok (i.e. national) colours for shooting, and later joined the SA Air Force (SAAF), commencing his flying training in January 1941. He matriculated from Maritzburg College in 1938, upon which he enrolled as a medical student at the University of the Witwatersrand until mid-1940, before joining the South African Air Force as a volunteer for active service in World War 2, first qualifying as an air gunner. When he volunteered to train as a pilot, he went to Southern Rhodesia for training.

Air Force career

By October 1941, Rogers was assigned to 208 Squadron (RAF) in Egypt, where he flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Austria. He was shot down near Benghazi in 1942, but managed to escape capture. In August 1942, despite having a finger shot off, he fought off four Luftwaffe ME 109s. By December 1943, he had been promoted to lieutenant-colonel and placed in command of 225 Squadron, RAF. For his services he was awarded a DSO and DFC and Bar. Even his father, who was a captain in the army, had to salute him – much to the delight of both men. Towards the end of World War II, General Rogers was put in charge of his old squadron, 40 Squadron SAAF.

After the war, Rogers accepted a permanent commission in the SAAF with the rank of captain, and served in various posts, including as a flight instructor and as Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the Governor-General of the Union. Major Rogers (as he then was) served in the Korean War in 1951 and 1953 as a fighter bomber pilot, flying Mustangs and Sabres. He earned the American DFC, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Korean Chungmu Decoration. In 1954, he married Clare Bosch and they had a son.

He went on to hold various command and staff posts (including OC of 12 Squadron SAAF and 24 Squadron SAAF), and at the end of 1974 he was appointed Acting Chief of the Air Force. He was appointed Lieutenant-General in March 1975 when he was confirmed as Chief of the Air Force, the post he held until his retirement in 1979.


General Rogers retired from the SAAF in 1979 and settled in Knysna, Cape Province. In 1989, he became the Democratic Party MP for Walmer, Port Elizabeth and was defence spokesman for that party in parliament.

Honours and awards

He was awarded the DSO and DFC and Bar for his gallantry in World War II combat actions, as well as being Mentioned in Dispatches He was awarded the American Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the South Korean Chungmu Decoration with Gold Star. For service in the SAAF, he was awarded the Order of the Star of South Africa, the Southern Cross Medal and the Chief of Defence Force Commendation (now known as the Medal of Military Merit).


  • Star of South Africa (SSA)
  • Southern Cross Medal (SM)
  • Military Merit Medal (MMM)
  • Korea Medal
  • Pro Patria Medal
  • Good Service Medal, Gold (30 Years)
  • Good Service Medal, Silver (20 Years)
  • Union Medal
  • Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
  • Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar (United Kingdom) (DFC and Bar)
  • 1939–45 Star
  • Africa Star
  • Italy Star
  • War Medal 1939–1945
  • Mentioned in Dispatches
  • Africa Service Medal (WWII)
  • Distinguished Flying Cross (USA)
  • Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster (USA)
  • Order of Military Merit (Korea) (Chungmu cordon) with Gold Star
  • United Nations Service Medal for Korea
  • Korean War Service Medal
  • Grand Star of Military Merit (Chile)
  • Presidential Unit Citation (USA)
  • References

    Bob Rogers (SAAF officer) Wikipedia

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