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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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Coastal Command Crest
16.11.1944 No. 78 OTU Wellington XIII JA563 F/O. Lloyd John Adams

Operation: Training

Date: 16 November 1944 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 78 Operational Training Unit

Type: Wellington XIII

Serial: JA563

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Ein Shemer, Palestine

Location: Pano Arodhes, Cyprus

Pilot: F/O. Lloyd John Adams J/23878 RCAF Age 22 - Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: F/O. Neville Francis Nugent Morris 181171 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (2)

Nav: F/O. Robert Keith James 162485 RAFVR Age 22 - Killed (3)

W/Op/Air/ASVG): F/O. Ronald Coates 175331 RAFVR age 19 - Killed (4)

W/Op/Air/ASVG): Sgt. Roy Leonard O'Sullivan 1822042 RAFVR Age 23 - Killed (5)

W/Op/Air/ASVG): P/O. John Thomson Coull 175337 RAFVR Age 23 - Safe but Injured (6)

ASV = Air to Surface Vessel Radar


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INTRODUCTION

No. 78 Operational Training Unit (RAF Coastal Command) was formed in February 1944 at RAF Ein Shemar, about 40 miles north of Tel Aviv, Palestine to train general reconnaissance crews particularly using Air to Surface Vessel Radar (ASV radar) and the Leigh light, a powerful carbon arc searchlight of 24 inches diameter fitted to a number of the RAF Coastal Command patrol bombers to help them spot surfaced German U-boats at night.


REASON FOR LOSS


Took off from RAF Ein Shemer in Palestine "Soon after dusk". Although the exercise on which the aircraft was engaged was Non-Operational in nature its purpose was an Operational Night Flying Exercise consisting of a "First sighting and attack report on merchant shipping initiated by signal from base". The exercise was Operational Flying Exercise 10 and included splash firing i.e. firing at a target. (See map for details of the briefed route commencing at RAF Ein Shemer).


At 22.52 hours and approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes after take off Wellington JA563 crashed at Pano Arodhes, 15 miles north of Paphos on the island of Cyprus. The sole survivor was rear gunner P/O. John Thomson Coull who was badly injured and hospitalised.

Details of the crash as determined by RAF investigators and reported at the ensuing Court of Inquiry were:

Aircraft and Engine Log books, Authorisation book, Pilot's Log Book and Form 700 were all in order.

After visiting the scene before the aircraft was removed the RAF investigators found the following material facts:

That aircraft struck [a] hill in climbing attitude. The tail portion was 100 yds beyond point of impact and was burnt out due to ignition of a flame float*. The major portion of the wreckage was 100 yds beyond the tail portion and there was no indication of fire. The two engines were a further 50 yds along and 100 ft below in a gulch. The line of wreckage indicated the line of flight being roughly 220 deg. M.

[*a flame float is a small incendiary device that would float after being thrown out down the flare chute. The rear gunner would centre the "pip" on his reflector sight on the point of light and then read off the degree of deviation from a scale on his turret ring - this would provide the navigator with the degree of wind drift blowing the aircraft off track]




The conclusions of the Court of Inquiry were:

(a) Brief description of the accident and its attendant circumstances:

At approximately 22.52 hrs on the 16 November 1944. Wellington aircraft JA563 crashed into high ground at Pano Arodhes in Cyprus. The aircraft was totally wrecked. Five of the crew were killed instantly. The sixth member of the crew received serious injuries and is now in hospital.

(b) Diagnosis of cause or causes including all contributory factors:

The Court considers that the cause of the accident was due to faulty pilotage and navigation on the part of an inexperienced crew. At the time of the accident the 2nd Pilot P/O. Morris was at the controls. The Captain F/O. Adams was with the Navigator and on receiving information from the rear gunner (P/O. Coull) that they were over land, informed the 2nd Pilot over the intercom to climb using 4 lbs boost and 2400 RPM. He then proceeded forward and was heard to say just before the crash "Good God man, give her more boost." The Beacon P/O. Coull refers to was the "Pomos Point Beacon" flashing the characteristic "G"*. The Captain must have also seen this beacon and gone back to the Navigator to verify their position. During this time the aircraft lost height. Had they remained at the briefed height they would have cleared the mountains in this region of Cyprus. The Navigator's log which has been salvaged indicates that at 22.44 hrs the height was 2800 ft. So it is presumed that during the remaining eight minutes the aircraft lost height down to 1800 ft. at which point the crash occurred. This loss of height is considered due to the inexperience of the 2nd Pilot who has only flown as 2nd Pilot during the last six months with a total of 15-30 hrs as 2nd Pilot on Wellington.

It is considered that the SE was serviceable as no W/T message was received to the contrary and also on examination of the wreckage the SE homing aerials were switched on indicating it was in use. No SE log could be recovered from the wreckage.

The Court considers that there was no engine failure although there were sight signs of overheating.

[*Flashing green = Cleared to approach airport, or return to land]

(c) Recommendations: Nil

Signed by the President (or Investigating Officer): E. Cassidy S/Ldr

Member of Court: L. N. Batt F/Lt

27 November 1944

The Commanding Officer of RAF Station Ein Shemer, Group Captain G. M. Lindeman concurred with the findings of the Court. 27 November 1944

The Group Commander AVM Malcolm Taylor AOC 203 Group also concurred.

18 December 1944

Headquarters concurred

4 January 1945 signed W/Cdr. H. Campbell for Air Marshall AOC in C ME Command.




BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW


(1) F/O. Lloyd John Adams was born on 21 September 1921 at Windsor, Ontario the son of Sydney Richard Adams (a Carpenter) and Gertrude May Adams nee Hall. He had a sister Eunice Adams born 1925 and three brothers, Stafford Adams born 1906, Everett Adams born 1913 and Robert Adams born 1916 and the family lived at 422 Windermere Road, Windsor.

He was educated at Assumption Street Public School, Windsor, Ontario until June 1935 and at Windsor Vocational School (1935-1939) studying Motor Mechanics. He played hockey, baseball and basketball. His hobby was building and flying model aircraft.

He enlisted at Windsor on 24 October 1939 when he was just turned 18. He was 5'8" tall weighing 145 lbs with a medium complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes.

With his background in Motor Mechanics he somewhat inevitably trained as an Aero Engine Mechanic at No. 1 Technical Training School at RCAF St. Thomas, Ontario from February to June 1940 and on 1 September 1941 was promoted to Corporal. The following year he volunteered for air crew and commenced pilot training on 25 April 1942 at No. 2 Flying Training School at RCAF Uplands at Ontario and after further training at No. 5 Initial Training School, RCAF Belleville, No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School, RCAF St. Eugene and No. 2 Service Flying Training School, RCAF Uplands, all in Ontario he was awarded his Pilots Badge on 19 February 1943 when he was also commissioned as a Pilot Officer.

Twelve days later on 3 March 1943 he married Jean Lillian Edna Adams (nee Macmillan) of Edmonton, Alberta. They lived at 68 Rosemere Avenue, Ottawa and had a son John Gregory Adams born in 1944

Three days after his marriage Lloyd was posted to No. 31 General reconnaissance School at RCAF Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island where he took a twelve week training course in the techniques of patrolling oceans using the Avro Anson.

If you can help with the identity of any of the others in the above photograph please contact our helpdesk

On 16 June he embarked for the UK disembarking on 24 June and posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre. On 13 July he was posted to No. 20 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Kidlington, Oxfordshire. His promotion to Flying Officer on 19 August was followed on 21 September by a posting to No. 547 Squadron of Coastal Command. From 29 October to 22 November he was attached to 1674 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland and again from 9 March to 22 March 1944. He was posted to No. 9 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit also at RAF Aldergrove on 4 July 1944 and on 18 August 1944 he was posted to No. 1 Personnel Despatch Centre at RAF West Kirby on Merseyside. On 10 September 1944 he was posted to No. 1 Middle East Aircrew Reception Centre, Jerusalem and by 7 October 1944 he was at RAF Ein Shemer with No. 78 Operational Training Unit.

His funeral on 18 November 1944 was conducted by S/Ldr. Rev. Pratt, Chaplain of RAF Station Nicosia, with Full Military Honours

(2) F/O. Neville Francis Nugent Morris was born in 1924 at Bridgnorth, Shropshire the son of Richard Edmund and Annie May Morris nee Morgan later of Wolverton, Buckinghamshire. 1624073 Acm. 2nd Class N.F.N. Morris was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 13 May 1944 (London Gazette 25 July 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 13 November 1944 (London Gazette 8 December 1944)

He is commemorated on the Wolverton and Old Wolverton War Memorial, Buckinghamshire

(3) F/O. Robert Keith James was the son of Robert and Edith Gertrude James, of Knock, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1795825 Acm. 2nd Class Robert Keith James was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 18 March 1943 (London Gazette 23 May 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer on 18 September 1944 (London Gazette 29 September 1944)

He was an undergraduate of Queens University of Belfast Faculty of Medicine and is listed among those commemorated by the University as follows:

"There is a group of Queensmen who deserve our special gratitude: those who while still undergraduates forsook their studies to fight, and some to die, that we might live".

(4) F/O. Ronald Coates was born in 1925 at Eccleshall Bierlow in the West Riding of Yorkshire the son of Herbert and Gertrude Coates nee Ashmore later of Sheffield.

1591354 Sgt. Ronald Coates was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 14 January 1944 (London Gazette 21 November 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer on 14 July 1944 (London Gazette 22 December 1944)

(5) Sgt. Roy Leonard O'Sullivan was born in 1921 at West Ham, Essex the son of Jeremiah M. O'Sullivan and Jessie R. O'Sullivan nee Case. He had a brother Peter W. O'Sullivan born 1931.

(6) P/O. John Thomson Coull was born on 5 January 1921 at Newton Cottages, Marykirk, Kincardineshire, Scotland the son of Charles Coull and Jessie Ann Shand Coull nee Adams. He had two brothers Angus William Adams Coull (1922-1940) and Charles Coull (1923-2003) He married Helen Donald Ross at Stonehaven, Dunnottar, Kincardine, Scotland on 31 October 1945 and had three children Kenneth William Coull born 1946 at Dunnottar, Kincardineshire, Scotland, Ian Thomson Coull and Katharine Anne Gavin Coull.

John Thomson Coull died on 12 January 2006 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, when he was 85 years old.

1123161 Sgt. John Thomson Coull was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) 21 January 1944 (London Gazette 18 July 1944). The date of his promotion to Flying Officer is not known. He was promoted from Flying Officer to Flight Lieutenant (war Subs) on 21 January 1946 (London Gazette 15 February 1946)


BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS


(1) F/O. Lloyd John Adams was buried on 18 November 1944 at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.4.

His epitaph reads:

Just when life was sweetest

Our Saviour called him home

(2) F/O. Neville Francis Nugent Morris was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.5.

His epitaph reads:

"Weep not for me,

Tears are in vain,

But trust in God

We'll meet again" R.I.P.

(3) F/O. Robert Keith James was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.6.

His epitaph reads

"O Lord, abide with me"

(4) F/O. Ronald Coates was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.7.

His epitaph reads:

"In my Father's house

Are many mansions"

Love is eternal.

Farewell

(5) Sgt. Roy Leonard O'Sullivan was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.8.

No epitaph

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - April 2017

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 07.04.2017

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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