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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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No. 103 Squadron
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

Serial: K9263

Code: GV-B

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)


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)

Burial details:

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.

KT. Page added with 18.12.2015. Updated 20.12.2015 with three links

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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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