Death of Charles Rodgers (89)

Charles Rodgers, the Donegal-born former deputy chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, has died. He was 89.

Mr Rodgers was a member of the RUC for 40 years.

He joined after his family moved to the northern side of the Irish border from their home near Letterkenny to live in Great James Street in Derry.

He had planned to become a clerk in one of the city’s shirt factories but joined the police in 1942.

His first station was Warrenpoint, County Down, when the port was crowded with American soldiers.

He went on to serve in various locations, including Lurgan and Portadown, during some of the worst IRA and loyalist paramilitary violence in an area which became known as the murder triangle of mid-Ulster.

The major incidents he investigated included the Kingsmills massacre, when 10 Protestant workers were lined up and shot dead by the roadside by republican gunmen in January 1975, and the Miami showband atrocity that summer, when UVF men disguised as soldiers opened fire on the group’s bus killing three members after a bomb the terrorists were about to unload went off prematurely. Two UVF men were killed in the explosion.

At one stage he was in charge of the RUC training centre in Enniskillen.

Mr Rodgers retired in 1982, at a time when he had a difficult relationship with the then chief constable, Sir John Hermon, over police involvement in the shootings of unarmed IRA men in Co. Armagh.

His wife, Eileen, died in 1995 and he is survived by sons Henry and Michael and seven grandchildren.

His funeral service took place yesterday at Bushmills Presbyterian Church in Co. Antrim.