Care packages are a long-held tradition for Fran Rogers: Local Legend just loves cooking

Care packages and thousands of Anzac biscuits: Fran's connection with people serving in the military goes right back to the cousin she lost when the supply ship he served on sank in WW2. Photo: John Veage.
Care packages and thousands of Anzac biscuits: Fran's connection with people serving in the military goes right back to the cousin she lost when the supply ship he served on sank in WW2. Photo: John Veage.

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The first thing Fran Rogers says when you mention her Australia Council Medallion and Certificate of Achievement from Engadine RSL for the thousands of Anzac biscuits she has made for troops serving overseas is, "I was very embarrassed about that."

The 88 year old local explains that she just enjoys cooking and didn't expect any public accolades for it.

Talking to her about the past, you find that Fran has had a lot of contact with various people who have served in the military.

Fran grew up with three sisters (two older, one younger), but loved playing cricket in the street with the neighbouring boys because she always wanted an older brother. The nearest thing geographically was one particular male cousin, Pat, who was a few years older. As a young man Pat joined the navy, and the supply ship he was on was sunk in WW2.

After Fran was allowed to start dating in her later teens, a good friend of her's who was engaged to a navy sailor used to rope her into coming along on double dates.

Looking through photo albums with family during a spell in hospital a couple of years ago, one of her adult granddaughters exclaimed, "Nanna, you went out with a lot of sailors," but it was just dinner and a movie. Fran went along because as her friend Val would say, "he's from Tasmania and doesn't know anyone here."

Fran recalls one sailor who went to Queensland and kept writing her the most lovely letters. It ended when his sister wrote instead, unintentionally scaring Fran with the opening line of, "sorry, I never thought I'd write this."

It turned out he'd simply become engaged to a girl from Brisbane. "I was so relieved he hadn't died," Fran said. The sister was apologetic because they'd always thought Fran would become part of their family.

Going into the city was a regular activity for young adults at the beginning of the 1950s, and it is also how Fran met Keith, another young navy sailor out with his mates, at the age of 19.

The pair went on to have five children together and Keith got into real estate after he left the navy.

Recently, one of their grandsons obtained the medals Keith was entitled to from his naval service, which included bringing soldiers back from Korea and time aboard the aircraft carrier HMAS Vengeance.

Making care package contributions for people serving has been a long-held tradition for Fran. "My nephew went to Vietnam, so I used to send packages to him as well," she said.

Still now, Fran uses her grandmother's recipe from WW1. "I have a newspaper from the first Anzac Day in 1915 and it has a recipe for Anzac biscuits which is exactly the one that we used," Fran said.

You can visit Fran's Memories Timeline at memories.com.au/timeline/fran-rogers-80721 to see more of her wonderful life.

Keep your memories alive for future generations. Visit memories.com.au or download the app today. It's where memories keep living.

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