29/30.03.1943 No. 214 Squadron Stirling I EF362 BU-N F/O. William Cooper
Date: 29/30th March 1943
Unit: No. 214 Squadron
Type: Stirling I
Base: RAF Chedburgh, Suffolk
Location: Hadleigh, Suffolk.
Pilot: F/O. William Cooper 115186 RAF Age 29 Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. R.D.T. Kearns RAFVR
Nav: Sgt. C.R. Logan RAFVR - Injured
Air/Bmr: Sgt. F.E. Smith RAFVR
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. A.T. Boosma RAFVR. - Injured
Air/Gnr: Sgt. E.R.H. Dyde RAFVR
Air/Gnr: Sgt. F.T. Lovegrave RAFVR
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from RAF Chedburgh. It is believed that they had to return from the operation with severe icing problems, during this return they collided with Stirling BK663 also from 214 squadron, which was in a circuit at 2,000 ft. BK663 lost the rear turret and part of the tailplane but managed to crash land in a field close to the airfield.
The rear gunner from BK663, Sgt. Harry Leister Burt RNZAF was killed. (Found later, still inside the turret)
Whilst the rest of the crew were able to bale out OF EF362, Flying Officer Cooper stayed at the controls and attempted to land the plane into a field but was unable to bale out as the aircraft was too low.
Stirling BK663 ZO-K later being repaired and sent to 196 Squadron, lost on the 28th September 1943 after an operation to Hannover. All crew survived.
Above F/O. William Cooper and the ceremony at the Close named after him.
In an official street naming ceremony, a new road in Lincolnshire, Cooper Close, has been named by Kestevan District council in honour of Flying Officer Cooper. This was attended by representatives from 214 Squadron, the Royal British legion, North Kesteven District council, Branston Parish council, his nephew Bill Shaw and wife Kay and members of the local community.
F/O. William Cooper. Shirley (St.James Churchyard), Solihull. Row 22, Grave 18D. Further information: Son of Thomas Bailey and Kate Cooper, husband of Esther Cooper of Branston, Lincolnshire. Flying Officer Cooper (also a flying Instructor) was known as Bill, was on his first sortie of his second tour of operations.
From Stirling BK663:
Sgt Harry Leister Burt. Haverhill Cemetery. Sec. U. Grave 196. Son of Harry and Bertha Burt. From New Zealand.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew.
(note: It is a shame that other councils don't adopt a similar street naming practice)