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Thread: Flight Lieutenant William Norman Cook, D.F.C., R.A.F.V.R. (155754), 35 Squadron

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    Default Flight Lieutenant William Norman Cook, D.F.C., R.A.F.V.R. (155754), 35 Squadron

    Hello!

    This is my first post on the forum and I'm new to RAF research, though I'm reasonably familiar with military records in general after having carried out research on military ancestors at the National Archives and elsewhere.

    F/Lt W.N. Cook was my great-uncle. I googled his name yesterday and was fascinated to discover a thread on the forum about a year ago concering F/Lt Peter Coggan, who turns out to have flown many ops as a member of my great-uncle Bill's crew between July 1944 and April 1945 with 35 Sqn. One of the forum members, AlanW, provided a list of ops derived from the 35 Sqn operational records covering much of the period of Bill's active service, though not his first month or so of ops in June 1944 (I believe that his first op was over Caen on D-Day, or thereabouts).

    I think I will have to go to Kew and look at the 35 Sqn operational record books - I've found their reference number online. They appear to be complete for the period of his operations (June 1944 until, I think, April 1945). Does anyone on the forum know of any pitfalls or issues I should look out for in using these records?

    Bill got his wings in Canada in 1943, and then was commissioned from F/Sgt (945055) into the RAFVR on 2 July 1943 and promoted to F/O on 2 January 1944 and F/Lt on 2 July 1945. For the duration of his operational career, therefore, he was a Flying Officer, though I imagine he could have held acting rank as F/Lt. One problem I have is that I can't find record of his D.F.C. award in the London Gazette (which seems to be a very awkward site to use and somewhat hit-and-miss). The Gazette record of his promotion to F/Lt lists him as D.F.C., so he clearly had been awarded it before July 1945. According to family memory it is possible that he was awarded a Bar as well, his D.F.C. being awarded at the end of his first tour and the Bar at the end of the second (I was told that he flew 59 missions in total).

    The LG shows that he was commissioned again into the Training Branch of the RAFVR from 21 November 1951 to 15 May 1954, when he flew jets from Cosford.

    Bill died in 1970 when I was too young to have questioned him about his war experiences, but I'd be fascinated to try to collect any knowledge that may be out there. I have a photograph of him in uniform as a Flight Lieutenant with the medal ribbon of the DFC as well as the Pathfinder badge. I'd be very interested to know whether there are any photographs of him with his crew or others of 35 Squadron during his operational career.

    Any assistance would be much appreciated!

    David

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    Hello, and Welcome.

    You will find the details of your great-uncle's DFC award, here:

    http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/37030/supplements/1963

    Afraid, no citation in LG, nor Nick & Carol Carter's, The Distinguished Flying Cross and How It Was Won 1918-1995. Vol.I, A-L. p.349. No mention of a Bar in Carter either.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 12th May 2013 at 14:31.

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    David,
    If you can let me have your email address via a "pm" i'll get back to you "ref" 35sqdn ORB, which i have for the period concerned.
    Alan.

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    David

    I am in the process of putting together a History of 35 Squadron, so I will be able to assist you with information about that period.

    I note that Alan has kindly offered to provide you with the ORB's but if I can be of any assistance please e-mail me.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi David,
    I can confirm that there are no ops for your great uncle, previous to his first operation to Wesseling, as 2nd pilot to F/O Mills, on 18th July 44. Have emailed you.
    Alan.

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    David,
    I can find 40 mentions in 1944 orb's and 16 in the 1945, but needs to be rechecked.
    One entry was crossed out, so I assume(very dangerous) that the crew did nor fly that time.

    Good luck with your research.
    Paul H

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    Many thanks indeed to all who have replied - great stuff. I'm going to reply to those who have sent a pm and will post again once I have an authoritative account of his ops, and I will then do a summary along with details of his crew (might be useful for those in future searching for those men, as I did for my great-uncle!).

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    Hi David,
    I have a photo of Flt Lt Peter Coggan (who was your great uncle's bomb aimer) taken in the 1970s, if you would like a copy I can send to your e-mail address.
    If you have any photos of the crew and your great uncle they would be most appreciated :)
    Best regards,
    Jonathan

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