Tributes to Dunkirk veteran

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War veteran James Rogan, of Whitehaven, has died at the age of 96.
War veteran James Rogan, of Whitehaven, has died at the age of 96.

Tributes have been paid to a former war veteran and miner who has died at the age of 96.

James Rogan served at Dunkirk during the Second World War and worked as a miner at William, Lowca and Haig pits.

He was also a contractor at Sellafield and worked at Marchon for many years.

Mr Rogan, of Windmill Brow, Whitehaven, died at West Cumberland Hospital on April 6. His funeral was held at St Begh’s Church, in Whitehaven, last week.

His niece, Margaret Cook, said: “He was a kind and gentle old man. He would do anything for anyone. He was like a dad to me and a granddad to my two kids.”

She said her uncle and his late wife Jean, would take Margaret and her cousin Martin on family holidays when they were younger.

Mr Rogan enjoyed walking around the harbour and appreciated his friends, family and neighbours.

In 2013, Mr Rogan was interviewed by The Whitehaven News about his life and time serving in the Second World War.

He left school at 14 and started working at William Pit.

Following the outbreak of war, Mr Rogan joined the 5th Battalion Border Regiment at the age of 18.

In April 1940, he was sent to the French port of Le Havre.

On arrival the men moved to the Lille area, near the Belgian frontier. Defences were constructed along the France/Belgium border and they were ordered forward into Belgium.

It was while Mr Rogan was stationed there that the Germans broke through into Belgium, and Mr Rogan’s battalion were sent into action. They withdrew and headed to the outskirts of Dunkirk, in France.

Mr Rogan was one of 200,000 British soldiers evacuated from its beaches. He boarded a cargo shop and returned to England.

He was then drafted to 7th Border to be employed as part of the Home Defence. He passed out for No 2 Commandos to go to Burma but got moved to Ayr in Scotland.

By 1942 he was sent for a medical and returned to work as a collier at William, Lowca and Haig pits.

During his working life he was also a contractor at Sellafield and worked at Marchon for many years, retiring from there when he was 62.

Mr Rogan was a member of the West Cumbria branch of the Dunkirk Veterans’ Association whose Standard was laid up in 2000 when a memorial casket and some Dunkirk sand was placed in St Nicholas’ Church tower.

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