Remembered Today: Sergeant Air Gunner 1815603 Peter Samuel Cotterell (1923 – 1945)

Peter Samuel Cotterell was born in Broadway, in 1923, the son Mildred Agnes Cotterell. Peter was a member of Broadway Air Training Corps and joined the RAF Voluntary Reserve in the summer of 1944.

Headstone of Sergeant Peter Samuel Cotterell

Headstone Sgt. Peter S. Cotterell,
Dürnbach War Cemetery
(Dom Howard from http://www.158squadron.co.uk)

Peter trained as an Air Gunner with training unit 1664 HCU before being posted to 158 Squadron, on 9th November 1944, at RAF Lissett, Yorkshire.

The following year, Peter was killed whilst on a bombing mission, Operation Hanau1, in a Halifax Mk. III NR195 NP-I. At 3.44pm, on 6th January 1944, the Halifax took off from RAF Lissett. After bombing its target the Halifax was involved in a mid-air collision with a Lancaster (PB288) from 635 Squadron. Shortly after 7pm, 17,000 feet above Grossauheim, near Hanau on the east bank of the River Main, the Halifax strayed into the path of the Lancaster and the Halifax disintegrated in mid-air2. All 7 members of the Halifax crew lost their lives: Flight Officer John J. Krefter (Pilot), Sergeant Alexander T. Clyde (Flight Engineer), Flight Sergeant Leslie G. Morgan (Navigator), Sergeant James Gore (Air Bomber), Flight Officer K. Nerney (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), Sergeant Ernest H.M. Barr (Air Gunner) and Sergeant Peter S. Cotterell (Air Gunner). The pilot of the Lancaster PB288, Flight Lieutenant Rowland RAAF, was the sole survivor of his crew and he was captured by the Germans the following day 25 miles from the crash scene.

Peter and the rest of the crew of the Halifax and those of the Lancaster were all initially buried in the cemetery at Grossauheim before being moved to Dürnbach War Cemetery in 1947.

Sergeant Peter Cotterell is also commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial and on the Roll of Honour inside St Michael and All Angels Church, Broadway.

We will remember them.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 
Notes:
1. Hanau, east of Frankfurt, was an important junction on the German railway system.
2. The Germans tried to take credit for the two aircraft claiming their Flak battery had taken down the aeroplanes.

 

Sources:
http://www.158squadron.co.uk
Air Crew Remembered

Remembered Today: Leading Aircraftman 1440292 Brian Cross (1921-1942)

Brian Cross was the only son of James Cross and Eliza Kate Cross (née Jones) from Herefordshire. He was born in Hereford in 1921 and had a younger sister, Pauline, born in 1926. His father, who was from Lancashire, served as Broadway’s Postmaster for many years having worked for the Post Office since 1913.

Brian was educated at Hereford High School and Evesham Grammar School. On leaving school, Brian went to work for Lloyds Bank in Selly Oak. It is not known when his parents moved to Broadway but his sister and parents are recorded as living at 45 Leamington Road, Broadway, in the 1939 Register.

Aerial View of RAF Staverton in 1941

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Brian, aged 18, enlisted with the RAF and served as a Leading Aircraftman (LAC). In 1942, Brian was based at RAF Staverton which served as a training base for No. 6 Air Observer School1. On 24th August 1942, a practice bombing flight in a twin-engined Avro Anson crashed 25 minutes after taking off from Staverton.  Its crew of three; pilot Sergeant Edward Perkins, aged 20, LAC Lawrence Roper2, aged 29, and LAC Brian Cross, aged 21, struck high ground at Stockend Wood, north of Stroud. Brian was taken to Stroud Hospital but died of his injuries on 27th August 1942.

Brian was later cremated in Cheltenham and his ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at Cheltenham Crematorium and an RAF service was held in his honour. After Brian’s death, his parents moved to Leek, Staffordshire, in 1944, where James worked at the Post Office until his retirement. His sister, Pauline married locally.

Brian is commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial, the Roll of Honour in St Michael and All Angels Church and on the bronze memorial plaque on the wall in the cloisters at Cheltenham Crematorium. Staverton Airport, now Gloucestershire Airport, is currently raising money to erect a memorial to LAC Brian Cross and the other men who trained or flew from RAF Staverton.

We will remember them.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

Notes:

  1. From 1938, reservist airman could be trained at Staverton by civilian organisations.
  2. Sgt Edward Perkins and LAC Lawrence Roper are buried in Gloucester Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

Remembered Today: RAF Bomber Crash at Broadway Tower on 2nd June 1943

The Memorial at Broadway Tower, Worcestershire

The Memorial at Broadway Tower, Worcestershire

At 2.15pm on 2nd June 1943, an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V bomber whilst on a training mission from Honeybourne airfield, crashed in poor visibility on top of the Cotswolds hills near to Broadway Tower. All members of the RAF crew: Pilot H.G. Hagen, Sgt E.G. Ekins, Flt Sgt D.H. Kelly, Sgt D.A. Marriott and Sgt R.S. Phillips were killed.

We will remembers them.