Squadron Leader Nigel Rose dies aged 99

Squadron Leader Nigel Rose, a Spitfire pilot with No 602 Squadron throughout the Battle of Britain, died earlier today (Sunday 10 Sept) at the age of 99.

Sqn Ldr Rose, who was training to be a quantity surveyor when war broke out, had joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve at Southampton in December 1938 as an airman under training pilot.

After completing his training in June 1940, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and joined No 602 Squadron at Drem the next day. On 13 August he was thrown into the front line when the squadron moved to Westhampnett, a satellite of Tangmere.

On one occasion, he found himself in trouble over the Channel after he was shot up by an ME 110 which he later explained had “made rather a mess of the spitfire”.

He went on: “At first I thought I had to get out. I put the hood back, undid the straps and got my feet up on the seat. But then I decided that I could get back to Westhampnett. I managed that and landed with no brakes, flaps or radio.”

After serving with No 54 Squadron and spending time as an instructor in the UK and the Middle East, Sqn Ldr Rose left the RAF in February 1946 and pursued his earlier choice of career, becoming a chartered quantity surveyor.

Until recent years, Sqn Ldr Rose had been a very active member of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association and a keen supporter of the work of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust.

Battle of Britain Fighter Association

16 thoughts on “Squadron Leader Nigel Rose dies aged 99

    It is really sad to hear that he has gone ; but my word what a life he led and how proud we can all be to know him.Our ability to write what we do every day with freedom is all down to him , and those he served with.

    I was very privileged to know Nigel over the past 17 years and enjoyed navy a good time with him when he undertook signings at Shoreham Aviation Museum, who will sadly missed him. I also enjoyed many a chat with him over a very enjoyable Malt whisky while he told me if hus exploits with 602 (City if Glasgow) Squadron. I will miss his friendship very much.

    A real gentleman, seen at many book signings and airshows, always willing to chat and share a joke. You will be sorely missed. Blue skies Sir. May you Rest In Peace.

    A privilege to have known such a hero and a gentlemen Will be sadly missed by all My profound thanks and respect to you Sir Twelve O clock high Godspeed my friend

    I had the privilege of knowing Nigel 2000-2006 as rector of his parish. He was a lovely and incredibly modest man. I knew he was in the RAF during the war but only discovered he was one of ‘the few’ after about two years of knowing him. I count it a great privilege to have known this great man.

    the funeral conducted today by Father Williams in Llanigon was moving tribute to one of nature’s gentlemen. The RAF performed faultlessly, and no one who was there will ever forget the fly past.

    I had the privilege of hearing Nigel Rose speak at gatherings of Spitfire enthusiasts. What a wonderful, inspiring and modest man. We owe so much to him and his fellow pilots and ground crews. Thank you and may you rest in peace.

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