Ed. St Paul's, London
RAF Short Service Commission, terminated 1933 due to ill health
Company Commander in the Home Guard May-40 to Jan-41
prev. Aircraft Inspector for Fairey Aviation, Hayes.
"A sound and smart officer who is a great asset to the ATA"
He was awarded a Certificate of Commendation for his part in the rescue of the crew of a returning operational Halifax III of No. 420 Squadron, piloted by Flight Lieutenant R. A. Kalle which, having been damaged during a sortie over Normandy, overshot the runway and caught fire at White Waltham on the 30th July 1944.
The full list of those commended was:
- pilots David Cotter (M.439), Reginald Davidson (M.918), Marvin Dunlavy (M.408), Alan Murray (M.1053);
- Fire Officer D Baldwin,
- Senior Flight Engineer Kenneth Payne, Engineer Second Officer Albert Gardner, Engineer Third Officer John Gulson, Engineer Second Officer Francis Lees, Engineer Third Officer Donald Soutter, and
- Mr J.J. Thompson.
He was also awarded an MBE. The citation reads "An aircraft crashed on landing and burst into flames. Despite the fire and the bombs on board, which subsequently exploded, the crew, five of whom were seriously injured in the crash, were extricated ... First Officer Cotter gave invaluable help in getting the Rear-Gunner out of his turret, which had become jammed. The man was unconscious, lying partly in the turret and partly in the rear of the fuselage. While others worked on the turret from the outside, Cotter, finding the turret could not be swung back, entered the fuselage, after forcing the normal entrance. The starboard wing was blazing fiercely and the heat was so intense that the starboard elevator burst into flames. It was then found necessary to remove the gunner’s flying equipment before those outside could extricate him safely ... Cotter showed great courage without thought for his own safety."
d. 2003, Surrey
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