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Thread: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

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    Default Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Hello All! I'm looking for whatever information I can get on Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake, DFC, DFM (184113). I have his khaki summer uniform in my WWII collection as well as a few documents pertaining to him. One is a short obituary and another lists some of the missions he flew on. From what I've been able to gather early in WWII he was a navigator on heavy bombers, I think Lancasters. Later on in the war I think he transitioned to Mosquitos. He enlisted first and late in the war received a commission. His obituary states that he flew a total of 109 missions. Google searches haven't turned up much. I've also searched The Gazette and found a few things such as some of his officer promotions dates and his retirement in 1975. If the experts on here could provide anymore information it would be greatly appreciated. Looking for whatever I can get but mainly squadrons he served in, dates of promotion (officer and enlisted), award citations, etc. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Hello,

    DFM awarded when he was on No. 49 Squadron. S/n then was 1168345.

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/2201

    Regards,

    Dave

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    mndoss06 (5th February 2021)

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Hello

    The citation for his D.F.M. from fold3.com:

    COPESTAKE Frederick Stanley. 1168345 Flight Sergeant, No.49 Sqn.
    L. G. 18/5/1943. Sorties 31, Flying hours 191.05. Air Observer. Air2/8951.
    This N.C.O. has now completed 31 sorties totalling 191.05 hours flying as Navigator in a Lancaster aircraft. His work has been of a most excellent standard and by the way in which he has always taken his aircraft to the target and back again to this country he has gained the complete confidence of his crew. His Captain thereby has always been enabled to rely implicitly on his Navigator and his ability and the success which this crew have achieved is due to a great extent to Flight Sergeant Copestake and his work. He has shown his determination in more ways than one and the excellent photographs that his crew has produced bear testimony to the extreme reliability and accuracy of his work as Navigator. He took part in the Le Creusot attack as Navigator to a Section Leader in the leading squadron. He has successfully navigated his aircraft to the Baltic, to remote German targets, to Italy and to France with the same quality of determination and skill that has always marked his operational sorties and I strongly recommend the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.
    19th March, 1943.


    His D.F.C. award was reported in the Birmingham Evening Despatch, May 25th 1945:

    Pilot Officer Frederick Stanley Copestake, R.A.F.V.R., already holder of the D.F.M., now receives the D.F.C., that citation states, for his fine fighting spirit on many operational sorties, against such heavily defended targets as Duisberg, Essen and Stuttgart.
    P/O Copestake lives at Dudley, Worcs, and was educated at Birmingham University.


    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    mndoss06 (5th February 2021)

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    https://www.49squadron.co.uk/personn...l/Copestake_FS

    And you can take advantage of the free ORB's from TNA at the present time to check out those missions.

    https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...umber%3A+49%22
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    mndoss06 (5th February 2021)

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Enough on the google search results

    105 Squadron Mosquito by the looks of it
    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...385#post124385
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    F S Copestake DFC DFM born 9 March 1920, commissioned 29 Aug 1944, Flight Lieut on 6 Mar 1963, retired SUP on 9 Mar 1975 (from RAF Retired List 1992)

    He was apparently born in Dudley, pre-war he was an Undergraduate Student living with his family at Selborne Road, Dudley, married early 1951 in Dudley.
    He died circa May 1994 in the Dudley area

    cheers PeteS
    https://630squadron.wordpress.com/
    Last edited by PeteS; 3rd February 2021 at 15:05. Reason: additional detail

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Thanks for the help everyone, I appreciate it! There's some good info here!

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Quote Originally Posted by mndoss06 View Post
    Thanks for the help everyone, I appreciate it! There's some good info here!

    Hello mndosso6,
    Frederick Stanley Copestake was my Mother's 1st cousin and all of the family are (and were) very proud of his WWII service with Bomber Command. All of the information that has been sent to you so far is correct i.e.
    He :-
    1)Was born in Dudley (probably 25 Gammage Street, Blowers Green, Dudley, (then Worcestershire now West Midlands), England on the 9 Mar 1920.
    Was studying for a Maths (I think) degree at Birmingham University, Edgbaston, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.
    (I think) volunteered for the RAF before completing his degree (this needs confirmation but an article from a local paper about his 1st DFM award said that he joined the RAF in Jan 1941 and he would have been due to take his finals sometime in May/June 194!)
    Did at least some of his training in Canada (where he reckoned to have dropped bombs both the farthest from and nearest to the target of all students. He was bob on by the way for the closest).
    Joined his 1st operational squadron (49 squadron) from 25 OTU on 18 Apr 1942.
    Flew his 1st "op" on 3 Jun 1942, dropping "Nickels" (leaflets) over Lille, France.
    Flew his 1st 3 "ops" in 49 squadron in Manchesters and the last 28 in Lancasters.
    Flew all but 1 of his "ops" with Tom Webster as pilot and if you've looked at the 49 squadron website, you can see and download a copy of Tom's logbook there. Unfortunately, there is an error in the 49 squadron operations record for 17 Oct 1942 daylight raid on the Schneider works at Le Creusot, in that, the Lancaster R5757 is shown in those records as being flown by the crew of Sgt. J. R. McDonald. Fortunately, both Tom's logbook and Uncle Fred's citation for his 1st DFM show that he (Uncle Fred) flew as Navigator to a section leader (which therefore, from Tom's logbook, must have been Sgt. Tom Webster).
    Was posted out of 49 squadron

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Mathematically yr man Enlisted (1168345) in early Jun 1940 at Cardington (Block 1150001-1250000 RAFVR Issued 01-Apr-40 to 31-Mar-41). He would have been about 20, and straight out of Uni.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Flt Lt Fred S. Copestake DFC, DFM-Navigator who flew 109 missions, need more info

    Unless he had deferred service, he should be a late June / early July 40 enlistment.
    Last edited by jonny; 16th March 2021 at 17:55.
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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