Australia remembers Coxswain Rogers

News items of interest to Coastal Forces veterans, or notices concerning veterans' reunions or events
Able Seaman
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:37 am

Australia remembers Coxswain Rogers

Postby kenjoyce » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:00 pm

Jonathan Rogers, who earned his DSM as Coxswain of MTB 698 in 1944, later transferred to the RAN. He was serving on HMAS Voyager, a Daring Class destroyer, when on 10 February 1964 the Voyager was cut in two parts by the aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne. This resulted in the death of 81 Officers and Crew plus a Civilian engineer. Rogers, a large man, helped a number of young sailors to escape through a small hatchway and was heard comforting the others in prayer before they were lost beneath the waves.

There were exhaustive enquiries over this tragedy but the fine example of Rogers was acknowledged by the award of the George Cross. At the time his home was in the Gosford area about 100 kms north of Sydney and the memory of his service in this unhappy event was marked by naming an open area Rogers Park and erecting a memorial to him. The local former Naval ex-servicemen living in this pleasant holiday area have held a ceremony on the site each year remembering his courage and the men lost from the Voyager.

On 8th of this month, the fiftieth anniversary will be marked by the Chief of Navy and a Naval Band. Descendants of CPO Rogers living in the area will attend and any information about his time on MTB 698 would be appreciated.

Chief Petty Officer
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:21 am

Re: Australia remembers Coxswain Rogers

Postby johnk » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:35 pm

Many thanks for this post, a remarkable story and man, still serving twenty years post war, albeit I know today it is twenty two years now possibly plus.


Brian Holmes
Posts: 245
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Portsmouth

Re: Australia remembers Coxswain Rogers

Postby Brian Holmes » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:18 pm

MTB_698 Wallasea Bay Yacht Station Ltd, Wallasea Bay, Nr Rochford 7/43

For an attack on enemy shipping off Gravellines 14/3/44
DSC* TLt Howard Owen Turner Bradford RNVR
DSC TLt James Dunlop Dempster RNVR
DSM CMtrMch Leslie Frederick Jarvis P/MX96574
DSM LMtrMch Rland Henry Charles Goldney P/MX99933
MID AB George John Boorman P/JX180631

For actions in the Dover Straits 3 and 5/44
DSC TALtCdr John Roff Finlay Best RNVR
MID TLt John Edmund Atkinson RNVR
DSM PO Jonathan Rogers D/SSX28071

For an action in the Dover Straits 17/7/44
DSM ALSea William Henry Jones C/JX317442
MID AB Albert Barrett C/JX316518

Wind up of the war in Europe (Gazette Date - 11/12/44)
MID TSLt Alexander Brenner Stewart RNVR

Known Crew
TALtCdr John Roff Finlay Best RNVR TSLt 7th MGB Flotilla 9/2/42 HMS Minos II 5th MGB Flotilla 10/3/42 Commanding Officer MGB 91 3/42 – 7/42 TLt 12/7/42 Commanding Officer MGB 83 7/42 -3/44 Commanding Officer MTB 698 3/44 -5/44 and ended the war in HMS Bee DSC 1944 Two MIDs 1942
Obituary 18/10/04
John Roff Finlay Best was born on 12th July 1912 in Edinburgh and spent his early years in South Africa. He was educated at Winchester and Pembroke College, Cambridge where he read Agriculture. He was stroke in the winning Head of the River race in three consequtive years before becoming a coach with a winning crew at Henley in 1935. He coached the winning boat race crew in 1939.
He served in MGBs during the war, was awarded a DSC and twice mentioned in despatches.
At the end of the war, he returned to Jersey where he was a farmer and set up a wholesale business.
In 1952 he coached the British coxless four at the Helsinki Olympics where they came fourth.
He coached the winning Cambridge boat race crew in 1955, 1956 (16 lengths), 1958, 1961 and 1962 but lost in 1963
In 1985 his final coaching success was taking Pembroke College to the Head of the River
TLt John Edmund Atkinson RNVR TSLt 27/11/41 MTB 698 7/7/43 TLt 24/5/44 HMS Mantis

TSLt Howard Owen Turner Bradford RNVR Mid 4/9/33 RNVR (Sussex Division, later London Division) from 1933 ASLt 2/9/36 SLt 28/9/37 released 10/38 PTSLt 1/12/39 TSLt 7/1/40 HMS King Alfred TSLt HMS St Loman (anti-submarine trawler) (15th A/S Striking Force) 5/2/40 DSC MASB 1 28/6/40 TLt 1/12/40 HMS Osprey staff of Flag Officer-in-Charge, Portland 10/5/41 HMS Minos II 7th MGB Flotilla 15/9/41 HMS Calliope (RN base, Tyne) 12/1/42 HMS Drake Commanding Officer SGB 6 30/4/43 MID. TALtCdr 10/9/43 Commanding Officer MTB 698 3/44 – 7/45 DSC* Senior Officer 59th MTB Flotilla then appointed to HMS Attack DSC 1940 DSC 1944 MID 1943 Born 1914 in Eastbourne and died 1963 in St Pancras, London
TSLt James Dunlop Dempster RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 14/6/41 TLt 12/10/42 Commanding Officer MTB 353 MTB 698 Commanding Officer MTB 767 10/44
TSLt P G Wrate RNVR TSLt 28/8/42 Commanding Officer MGB 87 12/7/43 TLt 1/6/44 Commanding Officer MTB 698 1944-45
TSLt Alexander Brenner Stewart RNVR MTB 698 12/7/43 TSLt 26/12/43
TSLt D J Smith RNVR TASLt MTB 698 22/9/44 TSLt 9/11/44
CMtrMch Leslie Frederick Jarvis P/MX96574
PO Jonathan Rogers D/SSX28071 DSM 1944 Joined the RAN 1950 CPO Died in HMS Voyager when she sank following collision with HMS Melbourne GC 1964 He helped fifty tosixty men escape from the ship’s sinking forward section and stayed below leading trapped men in prayer
LMtrMch Rland Henry Charles Goldney P/MX99933
ALSea William Henry Jones C/JX317442
AB Albert Barrett C/JX316518
AB George John Boorman P/JX180631

Wartime Activities
14-5/3/44 MTB 353, MTB 698, MTB 705 and MTB 724 attack German shipping off Gravellines and sink the boat leader M 3630 with a torpedo. MTB 353 attacks and sinks German minesweeper M10 three miles off Dunkirk
Actions in the Dover Straits 5/44
59th MTB Flotilla
MTB 697, MTB 698, MTB 699, MTB 700, MTB 703, MTB 705, MTB 706, MTB 710
Based at Great Yarmouth, Dover, Newhaven
Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy
17/7/44 An action in the Dover Straits
Transferred to the Mediterranean
15-6/1/45 MTBs 698, 699 and 706 are on patrol off Unie Island when they sight three stranded E Boats. E Boats S33, S58 and S60 are destroyed.

Post War Fate
30/1/46 Lost on passage Malta – Alexandria

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