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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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RAF Crest
29.09.1944 No. 34 WSU Anson NK607 W/Cdr. Roland Branston Cox

Operation: Transfer flight

Date: 29th September 1944

Unit: No. 34 WSU (Wing Support Unit)

Type: Anson

Serial: NK607

Base: RAF White Waltham/Northolt

Location: Dean Lane, Alderston Heath, Surrey.

Pilot: W/Cdr. Rowland Branston Cox 37159 RAF Age 31. Killed (1)

Pilot 2: W/Cdr. Colin Frank Mortlock Chapman OBE 33380 RAF Age 25. Killed (2)

Nav: F/O. Walter David Dick Cooper J/39012 RCAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alec Stephen Kay 1268842 RAFVR Age ? Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Paul Henry Weston Priestley 110261 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

We are indebted to Ray Phillips who took the time to send in photographs of the memorial note in September 2014. Also to Chris Scott who has carried out extensive research of this crew.


Thought to have been on route to a Conference in Belgium when the Anson struck some trees tearing the wing off. The aircraft crashed at location shown. All the crew and passengers lost their lives.

Memorial at the spot today (courtesy Mr. Ray Phillips and also to Chris Scott who placed the original memorial notice)

(1) W/Cdr. Rowland Branston Cox (also known as Peter) at the time was Commanding Officer of 34 WSU. Born on 27th April 1913, and at Loretto from September 1923 to April 1931. House Prefect, in the VI Form (Prizeman), XV, and Fives Couples, and a Lance-Corporal in the OTC. In January 1936 he joined the RAF, in 1937-38 took part in the Waziristan (North West Frontier) campaign. In 1940-42 served in Wavell`s first Libyan campaign, the early part of Auchinleck`s Libyan campaign, and the Eritrean campaign. After a period with Coastal Command, he was attached to the Canadian First Army in Britain as Air Liaison Officer with the rank of Acting Group Captain.
(2) W/Cdr. Colin Frank Mortlock Chapman OBE at the time was Commanding Officer of 140 Squadron.

Burial details:

W/Cdr. Rowland Branston Cox. Newport Churchyard, Essex (St. Mary). Son of Norman Simpson Cox and Margaret Heaton Cox, husband of Rose Anne Cox, of Newport, England.

Right: W/Cdr. Rowland Branston Cox (courtesy Lorettonian Society - see credits)

W/Cdr. Colin Frank Mortlock Chapman OBE 33380 RAF Age 25. Killed (2) Caterham and Warlingham Burial ground. Sec.M. Grave 2. Son of Frank and Lillian Mary Chapman, husband of Barbara Sylvia Chapman, of Cobham, England.

F/O. Walter David Dick Cooper. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 55.E.2. Son of Walter and Agnes A. Cooper, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Fl/Sgt. Alec Stephen Kay. Kirk Ella Church Cemetery. Grave 16. Nok details not yet available - are you able to assist with this?

Fl/Lt. Paul Henry Weston Priestley. Caterham and Warlingham Burial ground. Sec.M. Grave 3. Son of Albert Weston Priestley and Minnie Margaret Priestley, of Malvern, Worcestershire, England. B.A. (Cantab.): Trinity Hall.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ray Phillips, Chris Scott, Lorettonian Society memorial, RAF Commands Forum, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Aircrew Remembered archives.

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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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