William Wendell Rogers MCwas born at Alberton, Prince Edward Island (PEI), son of Frederic Llewellyn Rogers and Florence (Page) Rogers. He was a grandson of Benjamin Rogers, former Lieutenant Governor of PEI. His early education was in PEI schools before entering the University of Toronto.
Rogers was recruited by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in Canada and sailed to England where he received his pilotís training. On May 8, 1917, he joined No. 1 Squadron, a scout unit flying Nieuport aircraft. By the end of November he had shot down a total of eight enemy planes.
However his greatest feat was shooting down the first German Gotha bomber to be destroyed by the Allies. The Gotha, then the biggest aircraft in the world, had been bombing London before it appeared over the Western Front. Its wingspan was more than three times that of the tiny British Nieuport Scout. Captain Rogers led two other Nieuports in an attack on a squadron of 17 Gothas. On his own theory of a "blind spot" for the Gotha gunners, he moved in close, and sent one big bomber downward. Black smoke belched from it and the gas tank caught fire. At 4,000 feet two of its occupants lept from the plane to their deaths.
Then it exploded and flaming wreckage fluttered down between the trenches.
This victory was viewed with the utmost importance by the RFC because it showed that the Gothas could now be successfully attacked. It also had an effect on the morale of the Gotha crews who could no longer regard their bombing monsters as inpregnable.
For his achievement, Rogers was awarded the Military Cross (MC) and a special commendation from General Trenchard, Head of the RFC. Shortly afterwards he took up instructional duties with the RAF in Canada for the rest of the war.
Coming to Saint John N.B. in 1924, Rogers was soon active in promoting a Flying Club and the cityís first airport, constructed at Millidgeville.
Rogers first operated a General Motors agency in Saint John N.B. In 1933 he joined the Irving Oil Company in charge of their trucking operations. In 1934 management of the Saint John Motor Line was added to his duties and in 1940 he became President of SMT (Eastern) Ltd.
In October 1938 he was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 117 RCAF Fighter Squadron (non permanent) with the rank of Squadron Leader and there was a rush of applications to join the unit, which had been established in Saint John.
He married Sally Head of Charlottown PEI and they had two sons; Frederick and Lloyd. In 1949, with his two sons, he established a plastic manufacturing business under the firm name of Rogers Bros., Ltd. On January 11, 1967 he died in Saint John hospital after a long illness.