Funeral of Sqn Ldr Nigel Rose 602 Squadron

The funeral of Sqn Ldr Nigel Rose took place yesterday at St Eigon’s Church in Llanigon, nestling in the beautiful rolling hills of Powys. One of Churchill’s ‘Few’, Nigel died recently at the age of 99.

He initially joined the RAF Volunteer Reserves before being called up for regular service at the outbreak of World War II. He trained as a Spitfire pilot, and, as a member of 602 (City of Glasgow) Sqn, took part in the Battle of Britain and went on to serve his country throughout the war. An understated and dignified man, it was only in recent years that he began to share some stories of the war with his family. One of the more noteworthy missions he took part in was in support of the delivery of a new artificial leg to Douglas Bader who was being held as a prisoner of war in occupied Europe.

On another occasion, displaying exceptional airmanship, he managed to bring his Spitfire home after being shot up over the Channel by a Messerschmitt ME 110. He landed near Chichester with no flaps, no radio and no brakes. The Spitfire was so badly damaged it took almost a year to repair.

Nigel’s daughter, Barbara Hope-Lewis (the author Barbara Erskine) paid a very moving tribute during the service to her father. Other family members participated in the service which was conducted by Father Richard Williams from St Mary’s Church at Hay-on-Wye. The Lord Lt of Powys, Dame Shân Legge-Bourke was present. Air Cdre Alan Gillespie from Air Command represented the the Prince of Wales and the Chief of the Air Staff, whilst Gp Capt Richard Mighall represented 602 Sqn and the RAuxAF Foundation. Representing the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, Gp Capt Patrick Tootal outlined Nigel’s distinguished service career. A trumpeter from the RAF Regiment played the Last Post; members of the Queens Colour Sqn were pall-bearers, and a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flt flew 3 flypasts before completing a climbing wing-salute farewell.

It was a fitting tribute to a remarkable man. Blue skies, Sir.


Crown Copyright photos

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