06.08.1939 No. 103 Squadron Fairey Battle I K9263 GV-B Sqr/Ldr John Coverdale
Operation: Command Formation Exercise, Nottinhamshire
Date: 6 August 1939 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 103 Squadron
Type: Fairey Battle I
Base: RAF Benson, Oxfordshire
Location: Tollerton aerodrome, Nottinghamshire
Pilot: Sqr/Ldr. John Coverdale 27048 RAF Age 33 Safe (1)
Air/Bmr/Observer: Sgt. Ronald Jeffries Williams 560791 RAF Age 28 Killed (2)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: AC2 Peter Ivo Bligh 541182 RAF Age 19 Safe (3)
RAF Benson, Oxfordshire and Fairey Battle I of 103 Squadron (both courtesy IWM)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Battle K9263 took off from RAF Benson for a home defence exercise which the Squadron may have to perform if war broke out. Sqr/Ldr Coverdale was flying with two other Battle aircraft from the Squadron. The No 2 on this exercise was F/L. A. L. Vipan flying Battle K9373. For more information (click here) The aircraft had just completed a bombing exercise at a height of 250 feet. Flying over Nottingham F/O. Vipan propeller struck Sqr/Ldr Coverdale's aircraft in the cockpit area and then as F/O. Vipan veered away Sqr/Ldr Coverdale's aircraft was damaged again and the wing of the aircraft was destroyed. Sqr/Ldr Coverdale managed to land at Tollerton aerodrome and F/O. Vipan in a field in Holme Lane, Radcliffe-on-Trent
Map showing the area that Sqr/Ldr Coverdale landed after the collision over Nottingham
The Birmingham Post August 19 1939, The Courier and Advertiser August 19 1939 and The Leicester Mercury August 7 1939 (all courtesy British Newspapers Archive)
The Citizen August 7 1939 (courtesy British Newspaper Archive)
Sgt. Ronald Jeffries Williams. No details of burial. Are you able to help? Son of Alfred James Williams and Ann Blanche Williams of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
(2) Ronald was born in 1910 Cheltenham and his death was announced in Flight Global dated August 17, 1939. "Flying Accident: Sgt. Ronald Jeffries Williams lost his life as a result of an accident which occurred near Nottingham on August 6 to an aircraft of 103 Squadron. Sqn/Ldr Coverdale the pilot of the aircraft and A/C2 Peter Ivo Bligh, were not injured"
(1) Sqr/Ldr. John Coverdale was appointed to a short Service Commission as a Pilot Officer on probation 25 May 1928 and served with the RAF until his death 21/22 June 1943 while on active service. For further details (click here)
(3) AC2 Peter Ivo Bligh was killed on active service 10 June 1940. For further information (click here)
Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew.