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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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35 Squadron crest
05.05.1939 No. 35 Squadron Battle I K9469 P/O. Gerald L. Cooper

Operation: Training

Date: 05th May 1939 (Friday)

Unit: No. 35 Squadron

Type: Fairey Battle I

Serial: K9469

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Cottesmoor

Location: Market Overton, Rutland

Pilot: P/O. Gerald Louis Cooper 565016 RAF Age 21. Killed (1)

Obs: Sgt. John Frederick Tompkins RAF Age 25.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC2. John Sweeney 537820 RAF Age 20.


Taking off from RAF Cottesmoor on a camera obscuring training flight but bad weather changed the operation to circuits and landings.

Shortly after take off whilst climbing the engine cut with very little time to enable the pilot to either return to base or make a forced landing the aircraft crashed throwing two of the crew out of the aircraft as it hit a hedge. The pilot and air gunner suffered multiple injures and were killed during the impact. The observer survived with both legs broken, internal hemorrhaging and shock but died later in the station sick quarters.

The funeral was attended with over 100 officers and men from the station and a service was conducted by the Rev. C.A. Brown - a large crowd also gathered to pay their respects. The pilot had been granted a short service commission on the 05th September 1937 and completed his training at Brize Norton with No. 2 Flying Training School granted his wings on the 03rd January 1938.

(1) His cousin also served, 30 year old Fl/Lt. Thomas Noel Cooper 68807 RAFVR. 515 Squadron Mosquito PZ217 P3-K lost in the North Sea Tuesday, 07th November 1944.

Burial details:

P/O. Gerald Louis Cooper. Thought to be St Nicholas Church, Cottesmore. To be confirmed. Son of Wilfred and Carrie Cooper from Chile, South America.

Sgt. John Frederick Tompkins. Thought to be St Nicholas Church, Cottesmore. To be confirmed. Perhaps you have further details and are able to contact us?

AC2. John Sweeney. Perhaps you have further details and are able to contact us?

Researched for Derek Cooper, relative of the pilot and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Kate Tame for her research and other sources indicated below:

KT / KTY - 26.02.2017

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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