Ex-RUC chief from Donegal who investigated notorious killings dies

CHARLES Rodgers, a former deputy chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, has died. He was 89.

CHARLES Rodgers, a former deputy chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, has died. He was 89.

Mr Rodgers was a member of the force for 40 years. He joined after his family moved from their home near Letterkenny, Co Donegal to live in Great James Street, 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 when the port was crowded with American soldiers.

He went on to serve in Belfast, Newtownards, Clogher, Derrylin, Lisnaskea, Omagh, and then on to 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 Kingsmills massacre, when 10 Protestant workers were lined up and shot dead 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, were among some of the major incidents he investigated. 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 will take place on Thursday at Bushmills Presbyterian Church, Co Antrim.