M.625  2nd Officer Timothy John Manley Corsellis 
 flag england   b. 27 Jan 1921, Eltham, London 19 Aug to 10 Oct 1941 

 ata timothy corsellis  ATA



Father: Douglas Henry Corselis, a Barrister-at-law:


[Douglas died 1 Nov 1930 when his DH.60G Moth G-AAEI crashed and caught fire after he hit the perimeter fence on landing in fog at Stag Lane Aerodrome, Edgware.]

Mother: Helen Mary [ Bendall], of Gaunt Mill, Standlake, Oxford

Ed. Winchester

prev. RAFVR pilot AC/2, LAC 11 Jul 1940 - 14 Feb 1941, based at Carlisle and Cranfield; Assistant ARP Organiser, Wandsworth

prev. exp. 35 hrs in Magister, Oxford

"The reason for my discharge from the RAF was my application to be drafted to a fighter squadron in order that I might avoid the possibility of being ordered to take part in indiscriminate bombing, which I would feel bound to disobey."

[I suppose we should point out that the RAF only allowed its most promising pilots to go for fighter training.]

The Town Clerk for Wandsworth Borough Council (one of his 'referees') said "He is a young man of considerable mental attainment and keen interest. His education at Winchester and work here should fit him for any appointment of responsibility and I have no hesitation in saying he will be thoroughly trustworthy"

Having checked with the Air Ministry to ensure that he was not required by the RAF or for other duties, the ATA invited him for a flight test. The resulting assessment was, "Take-off: Good; General Flying: Poor; Approach and Landing: Fair. Nervous type. 15 hrs for Class 1, Doubtful for Class 2"

Address in 1941: 2 Montague Gardens, London W1

By 27 September, Timothy had completed his Class 1 Technical Course, training in Ground Navigation and Morse Code, and about 25 hrs flying in Magister, Moth and Tutor. He was rated as a pilot of average ability, "but he has made good progress."

He was then cleared to fly Class 1 (light single-engine) aircraft.


janes magister

d. 10 Oct 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - on his 3rd ferry flight, from Luton to Carlisle, Magister L8286 crashed at Warmanbie House, nr Annan, Dumfries. 

He died instantly, from a fractured skull, and inter-cranial haemorrage.

There was "Insufficient evidence to determine the cause of the accident."

Retired Colonel Charles Spencer, the resident of Warmanbie House, said, "I was at the east side of Warmanbie House, when an RAF plane flew over the house from about north-east at a low altitude. I then saw it make a sudden violent swerve towards the north-west and dive out of sight.... In my opinion the engine did not stop prior to the crash." However, other witnesses reported that the plane had circled "a number of times" and the engine did stop before the crash.

Fellow pilot Percy Olieff also ferried a Magister from Luton to Carlisle that day, and had spoken to Timothy en route, at Sealand. "He told me he had stopped at Worcester to refuel, and I expressed surprise at this as the endurance of the Magister is about 3 hours. S/O Corsellis seemed to be jittery and on enquiry admitted that he had had a night out. I asked him why he had not been to see the Doctor, and he replied that he did feel all right."

His body was cremated in Oxford on 15 October 1941, and his ashes were scattered from an ATA Anson over heath land between Oxford and Kemble.


"November 7th 1941

Dear Captain Kiek,

It was good of you to let me come to White Waltham - it comforted me to know that Timothy must have been happy in that atmosphere of efficiency & inspiration & aliveness.

I shall not forget how wonderfully patient & sympathetic you were - it was a hateful job for you to have to do but you did it perfectly and I do thank you.

I think it had to be, with Timothy - I felt sure the moment he started flying - just as I felt sure with his father.

I am thankful he was spared any agony.

Yours Sincerely,

Helen Corsellis"


The £2,000 insurance claim was paid to his mother Helen on 13 Apr 1942.


Oxford DNB: "As with so many servicemen poets of the period, Timothy Corsellis first had his work published by the admirable Keidrich Rhys, himself serving as a gunner in the Royal Artillery. It belongs to the group of air force poets who include Henry Treece, John Pudney, and Vernon Watkins, while remaining distinctive and troubling. An edition of his collected poems has never been published. Corsellis's originality lies in his ability to reveal youthful disappointment with what was offered him. Barely grown up, and lacking his friend Weir's strong sense of cause, he wrote poetry that is a severe indictment of the grim world into which the war cast him.

Sometimes we pray to be hardened and callous,
But God turns a deaf ear,
And we know hate and sorrow—intimately,
And we do not mind dying tomorrow.
(Corsellis, ‘Dawn after the Raid’, Poems)"

 Wikpedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Corsellis

 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey

  • Articles View Hits 526003


DSCI1060 1

Please feel free to send me your comments, requests, extra information or corrections.

Click here: Email Me