George Cross : Chief Petty Officer J Rogers, HMAS Voyager

Unit HMAS Voyager (1957-1964)
Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number OL00222.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Silver
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: George Cross
Maker Royal Mint
Date made c 1965
Conflict Period 1960-1969
Description

George Cross. Engraved reverse with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Jonathan 'Buck' Rogers was born in Llangollen, Wales, on 16 September 1920. He joined the Royal Navy in 1938 and served, with the service number D/SSX 28071, in British waters, the North Sea, Atlantic and Mediterranean during the Second World War. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1944 as a Petty Officer coxswain on the Motor Torpedo Boat 698, while it was operating in the Dover Strait.

Rogers left the Royal Navy in 1946 and subsequently emigrated to Australia, where he joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1950, serving with the number R/40859. He served in the Korean War and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer in 1956. On 10 February 1964 Rogers was serving in the destroyer HMAS Voyager. During night time excercises with the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne both ships collided and Voyager was cut in half by the larger carrier. Rogers was in the forward cafeteria of the Voyager with between fifty and sixty sailors, many of them young ordinary seamen on their first posting to a sea-going vessel. He realised that the forward section of the Voyager would sink rapidly and began organising escape through the single escape hatch. He himself was too large to be able to pass through the hatch. As the forward section began to sink Rogers was heard to lead the trapped sailors in a prayer and a hymn. For his actions he was awarded a posthumous George Cross. The citation for the award reads:

'In recognition of his outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty in saving life at sea when HMAS Voyager was sunk after a collision on 10th February 1964, for maintaining the morale of junior ratings in great adversity, for organising the escape of as many as possible, and for supporting the spirits of those who could not escape and for encouraging them to meet death alongside himself with dignity and honour. He upheld the highest traditions of service at sea and his rating of Chief Petty Officer (Coxswain).'

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