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The Airmen's Stories - F/O J Rose


Jack Rose was born in London on 18th January 1917 and educated at Fox Hill School and Shooters Hill School. He went to University College, London to study Science. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training course on 6th October 1938.

Once his training was completed he was posted to 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 31st August 1939. He was detached to Newcastle from 29th November to 4th December 1939 for liaison with the Royal Navy.




In May 1940 Rose was attached to 3 Squadron and joined it at Merville in France on 14th May.

On the 15th he shared in the destruction of a Me109, on the 18th he destroyed a Me110 and on the 19th he destroyed a He111. After shooting down this aircraft, Rose pulled away and opened his hood, to remove oil from the He111 from his windscreen. He was then surprised by a Me109 and hit. He managed to land safely at Lille/Seclin.

On 9th July 1940, still serving with 3 Squadron, Rose was passenger in Magister P6359, piloted by Sgt. HB Alexander of 8 B&GS, which crashed on take-off from Longman aerodrome, Inverness. The pilot was killed and Rose was slightly injured.

On 29th July 1940 he was posted from 3 Squadron to 232 Squadron at Sumburgh but he remained attached to 3 Squadron from 232, pending an enquiry into the Magister crash. Whilst with 3 Squadron Rose flew five operational sorties, on 2nd, 4th, 8th, 12th and 13th August.

On 22nd August 1940 Rose's attachment from 232 to 3 Squadron was terminated and he rejoined 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill.

On 25th August he damaged a Do17. In this engagement, he was shot down over the Channel by a Me109, in Hurricane V6547. He baled out and was rescued from the sea, having released dye issued only that morning. He was still serving with 32 Squadron on 30th November 1940.

Rose was awarded the DFC (gazetted 9th October 1942).

He commanded 184 Squadron from its formation at Colerne on 1st December 1942, a year later the squadron was re-equipped with the rocket-firing Typhoon. He attacked a wide variety of targets including shipping, coastal defences, flying bomb sites and marshalling yards.

The squadron was heavily involved in the build-up to the invasion of Normandy. At the end of June 1944, Rose led the squadron to a recently constructed landing ground near Caen allowing the Typhoons to range deeper into France where they caused a great deal of damage to German tanks and motor transports.

By the end of July, Rose had been in command of 184 for over a year and was rested. Later in the year he was sent to Burma to command 113 Hurricane squadron providing close air support for General Slim's 14th Army as it advanced on Rangoon. After the Japanese surrender he went to Penang to assist with the repatriation of the recently released Allied prisoners of war. By the end of the conflict Rose was one of the very few pilots to survive having been operational on both the first and last days of the war.

Rose was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Wing Commander.

After his release he joined the Colonial Service. He served as a district officer in the Barotseland district of Northern Rhodesia before being promoted to district commissioner in the Kalabo region on the Angolan border. In 1950 he was appointed private secretary to the governor and three years later worked in London.

He returned to Northern Rhodesia in 1956 when he was district commissioner of the Kaloma district before transferring to Lusaka where he was attached to the Police Special Branch. After two years he moved to the Chingola district, which included one the world's largest copper mines.

In 1960 Rose was seconded to be the first administrator of the Cayman Islands, where he spent four years. He commissioned a draft company law which was approved in London, passed in the island's legislature, and became law in December 1961.

In 1963 Rose was appointed deputy governor of British Guiana (now Guyana). His tour was cut short at the end of 1964 when his wife became very ill.

Between 1964 and early 1979, when he finally retired, Rose immersed himself in voluntary work, especially with the Citizens Advice Bureau in Devon and later in Oxfordshire. He was the honorary treasurer of the Red Cross in Oxfordshire.

For four years from 1975 he was secretary of the Salmon and Trout Association. He was appointed MBE in 1954 and CMG in 1963.

His elder brother, F/O FC Rose, was killed in action on 18th May 1940, his Hurricane I N2439 of 56 Squadron at Vitry-en-Artois was shot down near Brebieres by a Me110. He is buried in Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.

Rose died on 10th October 2009.



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