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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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502 Squadron crest
15/16.09.1942 No. 502 Squadron Whitley V Z9365 YG-A Sgt. Alexander B. Cockburn (Coburn)

Operation: Anti-shipping patrol

Date: 15/16th September 1942

Unit: 502 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Whitley V

Serial: Z9365

Code: YG-A

Base: RAF St. Eval, Cornwall

Location: Bay of Biscay

Pilot: Sgt. Alexander Bridges Coburn NZ/414594 RNZAF Age 27. Killed (1)

Nav: P/O. Alan Edward Coates M.i.D. NZ/40643 RNZAF Age 31. Killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. Herbert Arthur Roberts 1164473 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William Harvey R/92554 RAFVR Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Reuben Ellam 112387 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. T.J. Edwards RAFVR Prisoner of War


Very few records available to check this loss but it is believed to have been shot down over the Bay of Biscay at about 18.47 hrs on the date shown. The Whitley it seems was attacked by Fw. Henny Passier (2) of 13 KG. No details regarding Sgt. Edwards but it would seem that he survived the war.


502 Squadron Whitley at St. Eval

We welcome any further details into this loss which, we will forward to the relatives.


(1) Sgt. Coburn used this as an alias during his service, his real name being Cockburn.

(2) Fw. Henny Passier was wounded in combat a couple of days later on the 17th September 1942 - no further details.

Burial details:

All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial (shown left).

Sgt. Alexander Bridges Cockburn (Coburn). Panel 117. Son of George Bridges Cockburn and Elspeth Stewart Cockburn, of Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand, husband of V. Cockburn.

P/O. Alan Edward Coates M.i.D. Panel 115. Son of Thomas Joseph and Edith Agnes Maud Coates, husband of Elsie May Coates.

Fl/Sgt. Herbert Arthur Roberts. Panel 75. Son of Herbert Edward and Nellie Frances Roberts, of Leicester, England.

Fl/Sgt. William Harvey. Panel 104. Son of Gordon and Mary Ann Harvey, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Sgt. John Reuben Ellam. Panel 82. Son of Willie and Frances Harmah Ellam, of Grange Moor, Yorkshire, England.

Researched for Jonathan Taylor-smith relative of Sgt. John Ellam and for all the other relatives of the crew.

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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Last Modified: 04 August 2014, 16:55

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