22/23.11.1942 115 Squadron Wellington III BJ842 KO-W Sgt. Edwin Armstrong Coates
Date: 22/23 November 1942 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: 115 Squadron - Motto: Despite the elements
Squadron Badge: A dexter hand erased at the wrist holding a tiller. The squadron laid great stress on the importance of navigation and the hand on the tiller is symbolic of this. Approved by King George VI in February 1938.
Type: Vickers Wellington III
Base: RAF East Wretham, Norfolk
Location: Near Bucy-lès-Pierrepont, North East of Laon, Aisne, France
Pilot: Sgt. Edwin Armstrong Coates Aus/403798 RAAF Age 31 - Evaded (1)
2nd Pilot: Sgt. Leonard Richard Wager 1332120 RAFVR Age 20 - Evaded but later captured - PoW 951 Camp: Stalag Luft I near Barth, Western Pomerania, Germany (2)
Obs: F/O. George Ernest Wallace J10183 (formerly R92137) RCAF Age 26 - Killed (3)
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Ronald Watson 655966 RAF Age ? - PoW 42826 Stalag Luft 6 (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Devenish-Meares Aus/405349 Age - PoW 42673 Stalag 357 (5)
Bullet wounds and broken arm hospitalised for 2 weeks
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Everett Garfield Payie R108688 RCAF Age 25 - Killed (6)
We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our Helpdesk
Edwin Coates was posted to RAF Cottesmore in Rutland on 5 May 1942 followed on 2 June by Canadian Sergeants, Cyrus Wilfred Webb and James Alexander Ramsay both Air Observers.
Wireless Operator and fellow Australian, Sergeant Darcy Lorimer Paul is thought to have arrived there at about the same time. Some weeks later the four men later found themselves inextricably linked by the following events.
On 1 August 1942 Edwin Coates was the pilot of Hampden P2129 of 14 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. Whilst on a non-operational, high level bombing night training flight, a flare ignited setting fire to the bomb bay of the Hampden which the pilot then landed 1 mile SW of Cottesmore Aerodrome at 23.30 hours. The aircraft burned out and was struck off charge on 15 August 1942.
Edwin Coates suffered slight burns and was hospitalised at RAF Hospital, Rauceby in Lincolnshire until 10 August.
The other crew members on board were:
Air Observer Sgt. Cyrus Wilfred Webb R97024 RCAF - Burns to face Hands and wrist, taken to RAF Hospital, Rauceby from 2 to 29 August 1942
Air Observer Sgt. James Alexander Ramsay R93418 RCAF - Burns to face, hands and legs taken to RAF Hospital, Rauceby from 2 to 13 August 1942
W/Op/Air Gnr. Sgt. Darcy Lorimer Paul Aus. 404370 RAAF - Fractured pelvis and ruptured urethra - placed on seriously ill list at RAF Hospital, Rauceby.
Cyrus Webb later made the following statement to the investigating officer
'The weather closed in so we turned back to base without bombing. Suddenly we felt a bump. The pilot asked what had happened. I could see the reflection of a fire through the door into the WO/Ags compartment so I told the pilot we were afire. We passed over Cottesmore, the pilot called out "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" and prepared to land. When we landed the flames poured into the body of the Hampden suffocating me. The Astro hatch would not open, so I stuck my head out of a hole in the side to get a breath and saw Ramsey. He yelled that he had got out through the nose and for me to crawl down there and also get out. The perspex was broken, and I started crawling out, however I got stuck halfway and Sergeant Ramsay came back through the flames and helped me get through. Sgt. Paul was lying on the ground beside the plane. Fearing that it might explode we picked him up and carried him about thirty yards away. The ambulance drove up and the three of us climbed in, while they brought Sgt. Paul along. The Hampden was P3. Saltby. The official number I do not know. Exactly when I received my burns I do not know.'
Remarks by Group Captain A Leach Commanding 14 OTU RAF Cottesmore
'This accident was investigated. The accident was due to the loss of control on the part of the pilot primarily caused by the ignition of a flare on the aircraft aiming flight. I do not attach any blame to the pilot.'
P/O. Cyrus Wilfred Webb aged 23, was killed on 11 August 1943 when he was navigator of Lancaster ED939 of 97 Squadron captained by P/O. V. Baker which failed to return from a raid on Nurnberg. Only the two air gunners survived and became prisoners of war whilst the five dead all lie in Dürnbach War Cemetery.
WO2 James Alexander Ramsay aged 26, was killed on 29 April 1943 when he was the navigator of Stirling BF467 of 75 Squadron captained by P/O. D. L. Thompson which crashed in the Baltic whilst on a Gardening operation killing all seven crew and who lie in Svinø Churchyard Denmark.
Sgt. Darcy Lorimer Paul is believed to have survived the war.
Edwin Coates is recorded in its ORB as having joined 115 Squadron at RAF Marham on 18 September 1942: alas details of his crew are not recorded.
He had barely time to unpack when on 24 September the Squadron upped sticks and moved some 30 miles south to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.
Coates first flew operationally with 115 Squadron on 26 September as 2nd dickey with Sqn Ldr. Terence Lindsay Sandes (72486), a gardening operation from which they were recalled.
On his next operation he flew as captain on a successful Gardening trip on 2 October. With him were two airmen who were to remain ever presents of his crew - they were Canadian navigator, P/O. George Ernest Wallace and fellow Aussie, wireless operator Sgt. Jack Devenish-Meares.
George Wallace had been posted to 115 Squadron from 218 Conversion Flight on 12 August and four days later took over as navigator with the crew of F/O. J. D. Berry and had subsequently flown 13 operations with them until 26 September when F/O. Berry was screened to 12 OTU.
Making up the crew were air bomber, Sgt. K. Gusnay and rear gunner Sgt. W. Stephens
Whilst George Wallace was undoubtedly the most experienced member of the crew, and the only officer, his position on the next and subsequent operations must surely rank as a most rare, if not unique, incident of its kind, in the RAF, RCAF or RAAF.
It is of general acceptance that in the RAF, RCAF and RAAF during WW2, the captain of an aircraft, regardless of rank (in relation to other crew members), was invariably the pilot. Being responsible for the lives of all the crew whilst in the air, it was at his discretion when to give the order to abandon the aircraft, and he was expected to stay at the controls until all the other crew members had evacuated the aircraft and thus being the last to leave.
On 6 October the ORB records the crew as being detailed for a raid on Osnabrück. Named first as Captain is P/O. Wallace with Edwin Coates in second place named as navigator. A simple error of misplacement it would seem, but on the next operation, a Gardening trip of 8 October, Wallace is again named Captain with Coates now named as 2nd pilot. And so the situation continued with even the ORB Summary recording Wallace as captain. By 22 November the crew had flown a further 7 operations with Wallace recorded as captain on each and every one of them.
At that point it might be acceptable to explain the recording of George Wallace as captain as mere repetition of a perceived 'original error' of 6 October but irrefutable evidence was to emerge to prove that Wallace was indeed regarded as captain of the crew by the powers that be if not by the rest of the crew.
On 8 November the Squadron moved yet again, this time back to Norfolk and RAF East Wretham near Thetford.
On 22 November the crew was one of 12 detailed for a raid on Stuttgart as part of a force comprising 97 Lancasters, 59 Wellingtons, 39 Halifaxes and 27 Stirlings.
The crew was now made up of Coates, Wallace, Devenish-Meares plus Canadian rear gunner Everett Payie, an ever present from 13 October and air bomber Ronald Watson who had flown 5 of the 10 ops with them.
Joining the crew on this operation was to be Sgt. Leonard Wager, a 20 year old pilot who had been posted to 115 Squadron from 161 Squadron on 27 October 1942. Having celebrated his 20th birthday just three weeks earlier on 1 November, Leonard was to fly 2nd dickey to gain operational experience.
As can be seen in the image below, the ORB summary clearly names F/O. Wallace as captain of the crew
And the following extract from the ORB again shows F/O. Wallace as captain.
REASON FOR LOSS
JA842 with Edwin Coates at the controls duly took off 9th in line at 18.55. Various degrees of layer cloud encountered en route to the target dispersed over the Rhineland. Over the target the cloud varied from 8/10ths to nil with moderate visibility. In view of the strong headwind expected at operational height all aircraft were instructed to fly as possible between base and Châtillon sur Seine, on both journeys.
Briefed route all Groups: Base - Cayeux - Châtillon sur Seine - STUTTGART - turn left - Châtillon - Cayeaux - base
Zero hour was to be 2145 with the 23 Pathfinder Force aircraft operating from 2144 to 2202. The main force was to attack from 2148 to 2210.
Over the target slight to moderate heavy flak was encountered, thought to have been predictor controlled although barrage fire was also reported. Heavy guns in action were estimated at 8-12. Many crews saw no searchlights but 3 to 6 were reported to have exposed probably in the early stages of the attack. Intense flak was encountered at Karlsruhe and Strasbourg.
A thin layer of cloud and some ground haze concealed Stuttgart and the Pathfinders were not able to identify the centre of the city. Heavy bombing developed to the south west and south and the outlying residential districts of Vaihingen, Rohr, Mohringen and Plieningen, all about 5 miles from the centre were hit. 88 houses were destroyed and 334 seriously damaged; 28 people were killed and 71 injured. The Stuttgart report says that 2 bombers attacked the city at low level and dropped bombs on to the main railway station which caused severe damage to the wooden platforms and some trains in the station. 5 Lancasters, 3 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes - lost, 4.5 per cent of the force. (From Bomber Command War Diaries - Middlebrook and Everitt)
The 115 Squadron Operations Record Book Summary reads as follows:
12 aircraft took off between the hours of 18.40 and 19.01 to attack target Stuttgart. 1 aircraft was forced to abandon the sortie owing to the top escape hatch flying open and inability to close it and returned to base early bringing back its incendiaries. 2 aircraft failed to return from operations. The other 9 aircraft located the target and bombed from heights of between 6000 feet and 9500 feet. Many bursts were seen on a factory in the North of the town and in centre of town. Incendiaries were seen to ignite in the vicinity of the marshalling yards and very good fires were burning in the whole of Stuttgart. Leaflets were dropped and photographs attempted.
Edwin Coates and his crew in PD204 duly bombed the target but after turning for home were almost immediately hit by flak
ESCAPE AND EVASION Statement of Sgt. Edwin Alexander Coates
[The numbers in square brackets refer to places marked on the escape route maps]
'Gibraltar 8 Feb 1943
Gourock 17 Feb 1943
I was first pilot of a Wellington Mark III, which took off from East Wretham, Norfolk about 1900 hours on 22 November 1942, to bomb Stuttgart. On the return journey we were attacked by a night fighter, and had to bale out over France. I came down about 2300 hours near Bucy, N.E. of Laon. Other members of the crew were:-
F/O. Wallace, navigator
Sgt. Devenish-Meares, wireless operator (may have been wounded in the arm)
Sgt. Wager, second pilot
Sgt. Watson, front gunner (was probably wounded in the leg by flak over Stuttgart)
Sgt. Payie, rear gunner.
We all baled out, but I did not hear what happened to any of the others.
I came down in a field of sugar beet. I dragged my parachute to a creek and hid among some bushes, waiting for the rest of the crew. As none of them turned up, I hid my parachute and mae west in the bushes and walked to a wood about a mile away. I stayed in the wood for two days and nights. I had been shot in the leg when we were first attacked by the Ju.88 which shot us down. While in the wood I lived off the emergency rations from my aid box - Horlicks tablets and chocolate - and some sugar beet and carrots
When I left the wood I walked about 2 kms to a small farmhouse near Montigny . After watching the house for three or four hours I approached the farmer, who gave me a meal and dressed my wound. After about two hours at the farmhouse I set off alone towards Laon. My leg was still bleeding, and I was very weak and was able to walk only 3 or 4 kms. I went to another farmhouse near Chivres , about 10 miles NE of Laon, where I was given shelter for two days. I left there on the night of 26 Nov and, after skirting Laon, slept in a wood south of the town. I remained in the wood all day on 27 Nov and that night went south to Martigny , where I got a meal at a farmhouse, and was given food and wine to take with me. I stayed only about half an hour there and then continued walking South. I walked comparatively short distances that night and subsequent nights, as my leg was still troublesome . I walked always at night and sheltered during the day in hay sheds by the roadside.
I crossed the River Aisne at Pont Arcy . I was still wearing uniform, but the Australian battledress, being navy blue, is less conspicuous than the RAF uniform, and I had cut off my stripes and tabs. After about three days' walking arrived at Fismes  (about the end of Nov). I reached the town just after dark and walked through the streets with the farm people, who were going home; I had no difficulty. From Frismes I went to Dravegny , Cohan, Coulanges-en-Tardenois, Chamery, Clerges, Roncheres , Champvoisy and Vincelles. At Roncheres I had been given a blue serge coat and a hat at a farm. I was still walking by night and sleeping by day in hay sheds. I found the farmers in this district suspicious that I was a German, but when I showed them my identity disc they seemed convinced that I was British. None of them seemed to know anything about an organisation, and I did not mention the word to them.
I had intended crossing the Marne at Passy . SW of Vincelles but discovered that the bridge there had been blown. I, therefore, walked back to Treloup, and on the way met a farmer. I walked alongside his cart and told him who I was. He took me to his house, dressed my wound, fed me and put me up for the night and the next morning. Before I left him after lunch, he gave me a map of the district from the back of a calendar. From Treloup I went to Dormans , where I crossed the bridge over the Marne. Two gendarmes - one German and the other French - were fishing on the river bank at the side of the bridge but they paid no attention to me. For the next stage of my journey my route was as follows:- Comblizy , Igny-le-Jard, Mireull-en-Brie, Orbais Margny, Corrobert , Mont-Mirell, MacLauney, Esternay , Villenauxe  and Nogent . Again I slept mostly in hay sheds and once in a wood. I called at farmhouses on the way and was given meals and bread, cheese, and fruit to take with me.
I arrived in Nogent about 1600 hours and went to a bicycle shop. I do not speak much French, and the owner of the shop asked if I was English. He turned out to be very pro-British and led me into his kitchen where he prepared a meal for me. I asked him for a bicycle, and he said he would try to get me one. After about two hours he explained that he could not provide me with a bicycle at that time, but gave me the address of a friend, a farmer at Charmesseaux , South of Nogent. I went to this farmer, who put me up for four days (from about 6 Dec). The farmer took his old bicycle to the dealer in Nogent, and had it repaired. He also gave me socks and a raincoat. The cycle dealer had already provided me with bread tickets for 4 kilos of bread - the equivalent of a 15-days ration.
I left Charmesseaux about 10 December on the bicycle, alone. the farmer gave me the address of a relative at Maurepas , SE of Sens. This relative put me up for a night and from Maurepas I took the following route:-Brienon sur Armancon , Seignealay [Seignelay 18] and passing to the east of Auxerre, Soleines , St. Bris  and Vermenton . From there I went South to Vezelay , Sauvigny, Marigny , Chitry, Les Bordes, St Saulge , Chatillon, Moulins-Engilbert , Vandenesse , Semelay , Fours , St Hilaire-Fontaine , Vitry, Bourbon-Lancy , Djon and Dompierre-sur-Besbre , the latter just north of the Line of Demarkation [sic].
I had a look round Dompierre, and, in view of the number of Germans in the town, I went North to Beaulon, where I stayed the night at a farmhouse. The people advised me to cross the Line of Demarkation near Thiel, West of Dompierre. They also advised me to leave my bicycle behind but I decided to take it with me, and pushed it across country over the boundary between Thiel and Dompierre. After crossing the Line of Demarkation I went on to Vaumas . When I crossed the Line of Demarkation (5 Jan 43) all the roads were well guarded by Germans.
After leaving Vaumas on the morning of 6 Jan I was stopped by two gendarmes, one French and one German, just outside the town. I suspect that the Frenchman knew what I was, but I succeeded in pretending to be a Pole. I said I had left my identity papers at home. they asked me for the papers for my bicycle, which had no licence plate, and I said it was my brother's machine. After this, they let me go.
From Vaumas my route was:- Thionne, Cindre, Billy , St. Germain-de-Salles , Saulzet and Monteignet-sur-L'Andelot. Here I stopped at a farm for two days on account of the snow, which was two feet deep in the district. The farmer who sheltered me found out the times of trains from the neighbouring station of Gannat  to Carcassone and got me a ticket. I sold my bicycle to him for 300 francs, which helped to pay for my railway ticket. I left Gannat by train about 8 Jan, travelling via Clermont-Ferrand  (where I had to wait two hours on the station among many German soldiers) and Nimes  (where I had to wait four hours).
I spent a day in Carcassone  which was very full of Germans. I left in the late afternoon and slept in a haystack just outside the town. I began walking next morning and went to Monze, Servies-en-Val, Rieux-en-Val and Montjoi. Here a Frenchman took me to the local schoolteacher, who put me up on a bed of straw in the school for the night. I left Montjoi early next morning and went to Auriac , Soultage and Duilhac, where I was put up with some Spanish refugees. I then continued to Cucugnan and Maury , where I stayed a night at a farm. From there I went on to Latour-de-France, Cassagnes and Belesta, where a Spaniard recommended me to go to Casefabre .
I stayed two days in Casefabre and was advised to go via Ons to Llauro. There I got in touch with two Spanish political refugees, who knew of a guide who was leaving that night. As I had had a very long walk that day, the guide agreed to wait until next night. From Llauro the guide took me by mountain tracks to Ceret , East of Las Xllas, and across the mountain South of La Junquera. The crossing of the Pyrenees took three nights.
After staying one night (15 Jan) at a farm near Capmany , the guide took me to a hill outside Figueras  and hid me in a small stone hut, which had been used by charcoal burners. On my suggestion, the guide agreed to [go to] Barcelona  with my identity disc and inform the Consulate where I was. In taking this course, I was following advice which I had received in a lecture. I gave the guide my watch and fountain pen. I had already given all my remaining French money (about 600 francs) to the Spaniard who had got the guide for me. (The guide himself was not interested in French currency). The guide left me on a Friday night, but was unable to get a train from Figueras until the Monday. On the Monday afternoon an official from Barcelona came for me. I wore my flying boots and RAAF battledress through the whole of the journey. I arrived at Barcelona on 17 Jan, and after about a week there was taken by car to Madrid. After a week in Madrid, I was sent to Gibraltar, arriving about 7 Feb.'
On 8 February 1942 Edwin Coates embarked for the UK and despite the slow convoy being attacked by U Boats, he disembarked safely at Gourrock 19 days later on 27 February.
The story of his escape, Solo to Spain by Edwin Armstrong Coates, was first published by the Executive Committee of the Royal Air Force Escaping Society, Australia Branch in 1995 and in 2005 reproduced by the RAAF in their publication, Against the Odds - Escapes and Evasions by Allied Airmen, World War II Edited by Murray Adams.
Edwin Coates was the first Commonwealth Serviceman to escape through France to Spain during World War Two. See image of file cover below.
In making the journey from Bucy-lès-Pierrepont to Barcelona is at least 800 miles. It is estimated that Edwin Coates travelled about 100 miles on foot from landing near Bucy to Nogent where he acquired a bicycle on which he travelled about 150 miles to Gannat. From Gannat he travelled about 300 miles by train to Carcassonne from where he hiked and climbed some 75 miles over the Pyrenees into Spain before entraining once more for the 60 mile journey to Barcelona.
Following his return to the UK he was assigned to various non operational units and on 10 February 1944 posted to Middle East Command. Six weeks later he was on his way home, disembarking at Adelaide on 29 April 1944. Edwin spent the rest of the war at training establishments in Australia before being discharged on 3 July 1945. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 23 September 1943 and promoted to Flying Officer on 22 March 1944. Further details of his service career can be found in his biographical details below.
Second pilot Sergeant (later Warrant Officer) Leonard Wager landed safely and evaded capture until 27 November 1942 when he was caught at Ghlin near Mons (see https://115squadron-raf.be/crews/Wellington%20Mk%20III%20-%20BJ842%20-%20KO-W.html)
However - it is understood that according to his E&E report he was captured after being betrayed in Brussels a few days after being shot down.
The National Archives summary states that he evaded capture in France and Belgium 23-29 November 1942
He was incarcerated in the West Compound at Stalag Luft I near Barth, Western Pomerania.
The severely wounded wireless operator Jack Devenish-Meares also parachuted to safety and in his liberation statement gives details of the fates of the other crew members
'Shot up by fighter though I did not see it during first attack. It made attack head on afterwards but no damage resulted. In the first attack the aircraft was made u/s. Order to bale out given by word of mouth from pilot. Acknowledged by self and bombardier [Ron Watson]. Navigator [George Wallace] killed outright and rear gunner [Everett Payie] presumably killed or injured too severely to be able to bale out. Pilot and bombardier were in a/c when I left as well as navigator and rear gunner who were dead. Baled out about 5 or 10000ft. A/c was under control but not on fire.
Somewhere near Laon
Baled out first, bomb aimer pilot navigator and rear gunner were still in when I left, Bombardier Ron Watson was taken prisoner having broken ankle on landing, Navigator and rear gunner killed in attack.
Was in French house looking for medical aid (bullet and shrapnel wounds) and they had to send me to hospital so they had to inform the Germans and so was caught.
[According to details in his service file, apart from bullet and shrapnel wounds he also had a broken arm]
Bombardier broke ankle on landing and we met in hospital in Laon. Heard nothing of other members of crew or their bodies.'
Jack Devenish-Meares spent the next 6 months or so in various hospitals: at Laon 3 weeks, Dulag Luft (Hohemark Hospital), 3 weeks, Obermasfeld PoW Hospital in the Cosel region (a month) and Kloster Haina POW Hospital in Hesse (3 months).
He was then sent to Stalag Luft VI near the town of Heydekrug, Memelland (now Šilutė in Lithuania) from July 1943 to June 1944 and then to Stalag 357 Thorn and later Fallingbostel August 1944 to March 1945
He was released by the British Army in NW Germany on 2 May 1945 in the area of Kittlitz in the district of Lauenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
The bodies of George Wallace and Everett Payie were recovered from the wreckage and buried in the churchyard at the nearby village of Montigny-Le-Franc. They were later re-interred at Perreuse Château Franco British National Cemetery located at the hamlet of Signy-Signets, 7 kilometres south-west of the town of La Ferte Sous-Jouarre, and 60 kilometres east of Paris.
In his E&E Report Coates says he FTR on his 13th Op - I can only find 11 prior to him FTR - did he do one at OTU - ORB not available
Wellington BJ842 was probably shot down by Oblt. Hans Karl Kamp of 7/NJG4 flying a Messerschmitt Bf110, 26 Km NE of Laon at 3000 metres at 23.48 hours. See No. 7 in Biographical Details below.
SO, WHO WAS CAPTAIN OF THE AIRCRAFT?
To return to F/O. George Wallace and the question of his position as Captain of the crew. If the evidence quoted earlier, left even the slightest doubt that he was recognised by his superiors as the Captain, then the loss letter below, signed by Wing Commander A Cousens, Commanding Officer of 115 Squadron is surely unequivocal proof that he was so regarded. The letter clearly states that F/O. G.E. Wallace - GD.O [General Duties Officer?] was the Captain whilst Sgt. E. Coates was merely the Pilot.
Despite making extensive enquiries, Aircrew Remembered has failed to discover a similar situation within the RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces. If you are aware of any other such instance of a crew member, other than the pilot, holding the position of Captain, or if you have any further information regarding this particular, apparently unique phenomenon, please contact us via our Helpdesk
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) Sgt. Edwin Armstrong Coates was born on 13 June 1911 at Guyra New South Wales Australia the son of Reverend (later Canon) Arthur William Coates and Gertrude Augusta Coates nee Ogden.
He had 7 siblings: Arthur Selwyn Coates (1903-1927), Gertrude Alison Coates (1905-1957), William Russell Coates (1907-1957), Kathleen Hazel Coates (1910-1975), Bruce Rodwell Coates (1911-1979), George Philip Coates (1914-2011) Constance Grace Coates (1916-1993). The family lived at Bona Vista, Wentworth Street, Glen Innes in 1941.
After leaving school Ted Coates became a Bank Officer at the Bank of New South Wales at Armidale.
When he enlisted at Sydney on 3 March 1941 aged 29 years and 8 months he was 5'7" tall, weighing 137 lbs with a medium complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.
On 26 April 1941 he married Olive Caroline Firth Whyte at the Church of St. John the Evangelist at Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales. They later lived at 202 Church St Glen Innes New South Wales.
After training at 2 Initial Training School at RAAF Bradfield Park, Sydney and 8 Elementary Flying School at RAAF Narrandera, New South Wales he embarked for Canada on 17 July 1941, disembarking there on 16 August. He was posted to 8 Service flying Training School at RCAF Moncton, New Brunswick where he was awarded his Flying Badge on 7 November 1941 and the following day promoted to Sergeant.
He embarked for the UK on 11 November and on arrival, 23 November, was posted to 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth.
On 2 March 1942 he was posted to 2 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire followed on 5 May by a posting to 14 Operational Training Unit at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. On 8 May he was promoted to Flight Sergeant.
Following his recovery from the training accident of 1 August he remained at 14 OTU until 18 September when he was posted to 115 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk.
Further details of his escape from France can be read in the newspaper report below.
Following his escape from France he was taken on strength RS Uxbridge in absentia on 5 February 1943.
Posted to RS [Reserve Squadron?] Cottesmore on 20 April 1943.
Promoted to Warrant Officer on 8 May 1943.
Posted to 1 Personnel Despatch Centre on 5 May 1943.
Posted to 113 R&SU [Repair and Servicing/Salvage Unit] on 27 May 1943.
Posted to 167 Main Unit on 15 Sept 1943.
Commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 22 September 1943
Transferred to Middle East command on 10 February 1944
Posted to 21 PTC [Personnel Transit Centre] Middle East 14 February 1944
Promote to Flying Officer on 22 March 1944
Embarked Middle East 24 March 1944
Disembarked at Adelaide and posted to 4 PD Adelaide on 29 April 1944
Posted to General Reconnaissance School, Cressy, Victoria on 24 July 1944
Posted to 3 Operational Training Unit at Rathmines New South Wales on 4 November 1944
Posted to Central Flying School, Point Cook, Victoria on 3 March 1945
Posted to 2 PD Sydney on 1 June 1945
Discharged 3 July 1945.
Edwin Armstrong Coates died at Buderim Queensland Australia on 30 December 1993
(2) WO Leonard Richard Wager was born on 1 November 1922 at Greenwich, London the son of John Jonathan Wager (a Linoleum Warehouseman) and May Wager nee Thomas. He had 8 siblings: Annie Ellen Wager born 1906, John Jonathan Wager born 1908, Samuel Wager born 1910, Arthur J. Wager born 1911, Mary V. Wager (1914-1915), Maggie Wager born 1920 and Bernard R Wager born 1925.
In 1939 the family lived at 34, Indus Road, Greenwich.
Prior to joining the air force Leonard Wager was an Engineers Student - Tool Room Operative.
In 1956 he married Jane V. King at Bromley with whom he later had three children.
Leonard Richard Wager died at Bromley, Kent in 1995.
(3) F/O. George Ernest Wallace was born on 3 August 1916 at Oxbow, Saskatchewan, Canada the son of Northern Ireland born parents, Samuel Robert Wallace (a Lawyer died 1939) and Annie Elizabeth Wallace nee Glass.
He had six siblings: Gwendolyn Wallace born 1902, Kathleen Marguerite Wallace born 1905, William Lee Wallace born 1907, Eileen Elizabeth Wallace 1910-1970, Olivia Mae Wallace 1914-2003, and Edward Carson Lamont Wallace 1915-1976.
The family lived at 4314 W12 Avenue Vancouver
He was educated at Public Schools at Edmonton and Vancouver 1922-1929, Point Grey Junior High and Magee High School, Vancouver 1929-1935 and Western College of Pharmacy, Vancouver 1939-1940.
After leaving school he worked at the Vancouver Drug Co Ltd 1936-1939 as a Drug Apprentice and Cunningham Drug Stores Ltd 1939-enlistment, as a Dispenser.
He played golf and tennis and enjoyed hiking.
When he enlisted Vancouver 10 February 1941 he was 5'10" tall weighing 145 lbs with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair
After training at 2 Initial Training School at RCAF Regina, Saskatchewan, 18 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF Boundary Bay British Columbia, CIT Sqn RCAF Trenton
1 Air Observer School at RCAF Malton Ontario and 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis Ontario he was promoted to Sergeant on 17 January 1942 and on 16 February he was awarded his Air Observer Badge and commissioned as a Pilot Officer on
16 February 1942. After a month at 2 Air Navigation School at RCAF Pennfield Ridge New Brunswick followed by 14 days pre-embarkation leave he embarked for the UK on 5 March 1942 and on arrival was posted to Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth on 17 March.
On 24 April he was posted to 2 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Millom in Cumbria and then to 23 Operational Training Unit at RAF Pershore in Worcestershire on 19 May. Posted to
218 Conversion Flight at 115 Squadron, RAF Marham, Norfolk on 5 August for 1 week he was the posted to 115 Squadron on 12 August
He was promoted to Flying Officer on 1 October 1942
(4) Sgt. Ronald Watson - His service number is one of a batch allocated for Army Transfers Jan 1939
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(5) Sgt. Jack Devenish-Meares was born on 30 July 1922 at Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia the son of Horace Alexander Devenish-Meares (a Public Accountant, died November 1942) and Helen Marguerite Devenish-Meares nee Gaskin. The family lived at Falcon Street, Longreach, Queensland. He attended Longreach State School 1934-1936 and All Souls School, Charter Towers Queensland 1936-1938. After leaving school he worked as a Shop Assistant. He participated in football, tennis and swimming.
When he enlisted at Brisbane on 3 March 1941 he was aged 18 years and 7 months, 5' 10" tall weighing 140 lbs with a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair.
After training at 3 Initial Training School, RAAF Sandgate, Queensland, 2 Wireless and Gunnery School, RAAF Parkes, New South Wales and 1 Bombing and Gunnery School, RAAF Evans Head, New South Wales, he was awarded his Air Gunners Badge and promoted to Sergeant 17 October 1941.
He embarked for the UK on 17 November 1941 arriving there on 2 February 1942 when he was posted to 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth.
On 11 March he was posted to 1 Signal School at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire and six weeks later on 21 April to 14 OTU at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland. He was posted to 115 Squadron at RAF Marham on 19 September.
He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1 May 1943 and to Warrant Officer on 1 May 1944.
He disembarked at Sydney on 9 September 1945 and was discharged from the RAAF on 30 November 1945
Jack Devenish-Meares died at Hobart, Tasmania Australia on 26 January 20
(6) Sgt. Everett Garfield Payie was born 9 April 1917 at Parry Sound District, Ontario Canada the son of Edward Payie (employed by CIL Explosives) and Lyla Payie nee Thompson later of Nobel, Ontario.
He was educated at ?? 1925 to 1932 and Parry Sound High School 1932-1933. After leaving school he had various part time jobs until 1940 when he was employed as a Timekeeper by Canadian Industries at Nobel, Ontario, until enlisting in the RCAF.
His sporting interests were swimming, baseball, hockey and badminton
When he enlisted at Toronto on 10 June 1941 he was 5'10" tall weighing 145 lbs
After training at 6 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mountain View Ontario, 4 Wireless School at RCAF Guelph, Ontario, Combined Training School RCAF Trenton, Ontario and 4 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Fingal, Ontario he was awarded his Air Gunner Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 13 April 1942.
On arrival in the UK on 12 May 1942 he was posted to Personnel and Reception Centre Bournemouth and on 27 June to 7 Air Gunnery School, Stormy Down, Wales and on 21 July to 14 Operational Training Unit at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland from where, on 30 September he was posted to 115 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.
He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 13 October 1942
(7) Major Hans Karl Kamp was born on 1 September 1918 at Essen.
He held the rank of Oberleutnant when he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 7./NJG 4 on 1 May 1942 a position he held until 23 June 1943, having been promoted to Hauptmann on 1 April 1943. On 23 June 1943 he was appointed Kommandeur of III./NJG 4. He was promoted to Major on 1 August 1944.
On 7 December 1944 he was appointed Kommandeur of III./JG 300.
He was killed on 31 December 1944 aged 26, when his Ju88 G-10 was shot down North of Hamburg by a P51 Mustang and was buried at Hannover–Seelhorst.
He was awarded the Ehrenpokal (Honour Goblet) on 25 June 1943, German Cross in Gold (Deutsches Kreuz in Gold) on 1 October 1944, Iron Cross Class 1 & 2 (Eisernes Kreuz 1 & 2), Wound Badge and Night Fighter Operational Clasp.
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
George Wallace and Everett Payie were originally buried at Communal Cemeteries France Group No. 24 B (Railhead St Quentin) Montigny-Le-Franc, Churchyard, No. 1.
F/O. George Ernest Wallace was later re-interred at Perreuse Château Franco British National Cemetery, Plot 2. Row B. Grave 2.
His epitaph reads
Are the pure in heart
For they shall see God
Sgt. Everett Garfield Payie was later re-interred at Perreuse Château Franco British National Cemetery, Plot 2. Row B. Grave 1
His epitaph reads:
In loving memory
Of our dear son Everett
In God we trust
Till we meet again
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - November 2020
With thanks to the sources quoted below.