Sydney George Rogerson GC (Direct Recipient)

b. 14/05/1915 Mitcham, Surrey. d. 23/09/1993 Ramsgate, Kent.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 02/01/1946 Savernake Forest.

Sydney George Rogerson (1915-1993) was born on the 14th May 1915 in Mitcham, Surrey, the son of John William and Gertrude Daphne Rogerson (nee Marshall). The family lived in Heaton Road in Mitcham and his father worked as a lead plate caster for a battery company. He had two siblings, Dorothy and Jack. He attended Gorringe Park School in Mitcham, and as a young man was a Boy Scout (he later became a Scoutmaster), and on leaving school, began work for Horne Brothers in Hackney. The company made greatcoats for the Army.

Sydney G Rogerson GC

In 1937, Sydney married Yvonne Bentley, and they had two daughters, Anne and Joan. He enlisted with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1941 and served throughout the Second World War, largely in Britain.

On 2nd January 1946, in Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, a munitions train was loaded with ammunition when there was a violent explosion and a 3 ton lorry and two railway wagons literally disappeared. Fire broke out at a dozen points around the yard. A wagon load of 5.5 inch shells, some distance off, went up and the fire spread further. Small arms ammunition started to explode in all directions. 8 men died in the explosion and 6 more were badly injured. Sydney Rogerson arrived and realised he was the senior officer on scene. He collected some uninjured men and detailed each group to one of the many fires. One party had to move an explosives truck that was close to a blaze, and then Rogerson himself climbed under a burning truck full of shells to rescue two injured men. As more men arrived on the scene, he gave them the job of carrying the wounded to safety, or sent them to join the fire parties. Some minutes later Major Biggs arrived and took over command. He remained as cool as Rogerson had been, and one of the first things he did, with the help of another officer, was to uncouple a burning wagon full of shells from the rest of the train and push it clear of the other trucks.

On 11th October 1946, both Sydney and Kenneth Biggs were awarded the George Cross. Both men received their medals on 10th November 1946 at Buckingham Palace from King George VI. After being demobbed in June 1946, Sydney became a conductor with London Transport. He then joined the East Kent Road Car Company and rose to Chief Inspector. He then subsequently worked in Ramsgate Hospital and later at Lanthorne School for Handiicapped Children in Thanet, Kent.

In 1985, Sydney chose to donate his medals to the Royal Logistic Corps Museum, Camberley, Surrey. He died on 23rd September 1993 in Ramsgate, Kent and was cremated at Thanet Crematorium, where his ashes were scattered. His medals including the GC, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are still held by the RLC Museum.