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David Rodger - Aircrew Details - Aviation Directory

David Rodger

Dave Rodger

Name : David Rodger
Born : 23rd February 1918
Died : 1st September 2004

Born in Sault Ste marie, Ontario on February 23rd 1918, the son of a Scots carpenter, David Rodger was an avid collector of aeroplane magazines as a boy, that began his interest in flying. David Roger went to the local technical school, then worked for Algoma Steel while serving in the Canadian Militia. Rodger joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1941 and trained as an air gunner before being commissioned as pilot officer, and then arriving in England in 1942. David Rodger converted to Lancaster bombers, and joined No 97 Squadron at Woodhall Spa near Lincoln, and it was here he teamed up with McCarthy. During their time with 97 squadron they attacked the main industrial cities on the Rhur and also Hamburg and Berlin. By the time they joined No 617 Squadron, they were recognised as an experienced crew. Rodger and McCarthy had already completed more than 20 bombing raids together when they were selected to join No 617 Squadron, forming at RAF Scampton in March 1943 under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson. David Rodger was the rear gunner in "Big Joe" McCarthy's Lancaster, which attacked the Sorpe Dam during Operation Chastise, the Dam Buster raid of May 16th 1943. On the night of the raid their aircraft was unservicable due to an engine problem, so they took the reserve aircraft which had been fitted with the upkeep bouncing bomb, but not had time to be fitted with the crucial spoptlights which were used to keep the aircraft at the height of 60 feet. As McCarthy took the bomber across the coast at 100ft, Rodger, in the rear turret, was soon in action trying to douse the searchlights before "having a lively exchange with a light flak gun". By the time they arrived at the Sorpe, McCarthy's men were the only survivors of the team charged with attacking the dam, which was shrouded in mist as they arrived. With a tall church spire on the approach and a hill to be avoided after the attack, McCarthy had great difficulty getting into position to drop the mine. The lack of the height-finding spotlights made the job almost impossible. The crew made nine dummy attacks before releasing their weapon accurately at last. But the force of the explosion was insufficient to breach the earth dam, and McCarthy and his men set course for base. After the success of the Dam raids 617 squadron now under the command of Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire specialised in the attack of pinpoint targets, and Cheshire and his four senior crews from the dam buster raid developed daring and accurate low-level target-marking techniques. Rodger was appointed the gunnery leader of the squadron in September. Rodger then attacked targets in Italy, and made pinpoint raids against viaducts and the huge concrete constructions associated with the V-1 rocket programme in the Pas de Calais. In addition to their marker role, the Lancasters of No 617 carried the massive 12,000-ton "Tallboy" bomb, which was used to devastating effect against V-sites and railway tunnels. During the night of June 5 1944, 16 Lancasters of No 617 carried out a unique operation, dropping a dense screen of "window" (foil strips) which advanced slowly across the Channel to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion area. After 14 months on No 617, McCarthy and his crew were finally rested in July 1944. Rodger, who had flown 50 bombing operations, including 24 with No 617, was awarded the DFC for "his calm resolution in the face of the heaviest opposition, which has been an inspiration to his crew". Rodger returned to Canada in September 1944, where he married, and was released from the RCAF the following year. He returned to work at Algoma Steel, where he became a superintendent. Always a keen outdoorsman, he loved fishing and played his last game of ice hockey at 84. David Rodger died on September 1st 2004 in Canada aged 86.

Known Service Details :



Start of Service

End of Service

Known Dates




No.97 Sqn RAF




No.617 Sqn RAF

Flying Officer




Artwork signed by this Pilot or Aircrew

The Dambusters by Gerald Coulson. (B)

Homeward Bound by Nicolas Trudgian. (B)

Artwork with companion print(s) featuring the mounted signature of this Pilot or Aircrew

The Dambusters - Last Moments of the Möhne Dam by Robert Taylor. (C)

Photos Submitted Through Our Directory

Dave Rodger

Squadrons :
No.617 Sqn RAF
Pilots or Aircrew :
Joseph Charles McCarthy
William Radcliffe
Donald Arthur MacLean
Leonard Eaton
Ronald Batson
David Rodger
George Leonard Johnson
Historical Notes :
xx-05-1943 - Joined No.617 Sqn with code AJ-T, with code AJ-E from June 1943.
16-05-1943 - Took part in the Dambuster raid and was the only aircraft of the second wave to reach the dams, attacking the Sorpe dam but failing to breach it. Returned safely. Crew : Flight Lieutenant Joseph Charles McCarthy (Pilot), Sergeant William Radcliffe (Flight Engineer), Flying Officer Donald Arthur MacLean (Navigator), Flight Sergeant Leonard Eaton (Wireless Operator), Sergeant George Leonard Johnson (Bomb Aimer), Sergeant Ronald Batson (Front Gunner), Flying Officer David Rodger (Rear Gunner).
10-12-1943 - Shot down and crashed in France.

Known Individual Aircraft :




First Flew

Squadron History

Aircrew History

History Notes










Aircraft for : David Rodger
A list of all aircraft associated with David Rodger. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.


Click the name above to see prints featuring Lancaster aircraft.

Manufacturer : Avro
Production Began : 1942
Retired : 1963
Number Built : 7377


The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' Operation Gomorrah in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.

Squadrons for : David Rodger
A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by David Rodger. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.

No.617 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 23rd March 1943

Apres mois, le deluge - After me, the flood

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of No.617 Sqn RAF

No.617 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

No.97 Sqn RAF

Country : UK
Founded : 1st December 1917
Fate : Disbanded 2nd January 1967
Straits Settlement

Achieve your aim

Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of No.97 Sqn RAF

No.97 Sqn RAF

Full profile not yet available.

Last edited : 11:43, May 24, 2013
Last editor : kc

Return to Aviation Directory Search Home

See our aviation history timeline for all today's historical aviation events - air victories, aircraft losses and pilot details.

Updates made to Aircrew database for : E. S. C. Halsall : Squadrons updated (added No.51 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated
Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pilot Officer John Romney Mather : First name updated (now John Romney), Aircraft updated (added Spitfire), Airframes updated (added Spitfire P7539), Squadron service dates updated, Rank updated (now Pilot Officer)
New victory claim added : Me109 (Probable victory) claimed on 2nd June 1940 by James Baird Coward of No.19 Sqn RAF
Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden AD750 :
Updates made to Airframes database for : Wellington T2610 : Airframe notes updated (added 10-02-1941 : Wellington lost engine power and ditched into the North Sea. The injured crew were rescued by the SS Tovelil two days later.)
Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley T4322 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley was abandoned and crashed at Wishaw, near Glasgow. )
Updates made to Aircrew database for : Aircraftsman 1 Clarke :
Updates made to Airframes database for : Spitfire P9368 : Airframe notes updated (added 06-03-1940 : Joined No.92 Sqn. & 26-08-1940 : Joined No.616 Sqn. & 02-09-1940 : Joined No.72 Sqn. & 03-05-1941 : Joined No.111 Sqn. & 17-07-1941 : Joined No.132 Sqn. & 31-07-1941 : Damaged in flying accident. & 09-02-1945 : Struck off.)
Flying Fortress Mk.F-85-BO 42-30038 of 100th Bomb Group added to the airframes database.
Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley T4217 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley's crew were unable to pinpoint their position and abandoned the aircraft at Bircham Newton. )


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