The Airmen's Stories - F/O B J Rofe
Bernard John Rofe, from Douglas, Isle of Man was born in 1920 in Chorlton, Lancashire, the son of Captain Henry Bernard John Rofe MC and Kathleen Mary Rofe.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in March 1938.
Rofe was posted to 2 FTS Brize Norton on 21st May, then joining 25 Squadron at Hawkinge on 17th December 1938.
During a night attack on an enemy aircraft on 4th September 1940 his Blenheim was hit and suffered tail damage but returned safely. On 18th September he again had to return to North Weald after being damaged by return fire from a night interception.
Rofe was killed in a flying accident on 12th January 1942, while serving with 31 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The accident was reported locally as follows:
A major air accident occurred on Monday, January 12th, at about 1530 hours when two Anson aircraft, 5358 and 1722, of “A” Flight collided and crashed between Tea Hill and Southport (now Stratford) on the property of Mr.HJ Kennedy. The two aircraft had just returned from major overhaul and were being test flown. It was reported that the pilots appeared to be doing a series of roll manoeuvres when the two aircraft collided ripping a wing from one of them. It appeared that the second aircraft’s pilot attempted to get his aircraft under the crippled aircraft to support it back to the Station but both crashed. All personnel were killed including a young civilian. The two aircraft were flying between 3000 and 5000 feet when the accident occurred. The crash sites were within 400 yards of one another, in neither case did fire break out. The bodies were conveyed to the MacLean’s Funeral Home, Charlottetown. A Military Funeral was held at the Station on Thursday January 15th. Buried at the Sherwood Cemetery are LAC ELJ Beaumont, Flying Officer GD Calderhead, AC1 K Ellis, Flight Lieutenant BJ Rofe and LAC GW Taylor. Buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Charlottetown, is AC1 JF Agar. Phillip Compton, a 16 year old employee in the Reconnaissance School’s YMCA canteen who had been granted a greatly sought-after familiarization flight, was also killed. Following a funeral service at the MacLean’s Funeral Home he was buried in the Peoples Cemetery, Charlottetown.
F/O Calderhead was also a Battle veteran.
Rofe was 21 years old and is buried in Sherwood Cemetery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Image courtesy of Alan K Wood.