Pilot Officer

(Seconded from RAF) 

 Maurice Gaston Emile Coutanceau


flag UK

 b. 23 Feb 1920, Montpellier, France 20 Nov 1942 to 26 Oct 1943 


 3 Mar 1942


as an RAF pilot 1941-2


Flying an Airspeed Oxford, 1941-2



Father: Dr. Jean Leon Maurice Coutanceau, a GP and regional Medical Officer for the Railway Company PLM (Paris-Lyons-MediterranĂ©e); Mother: Madeleine Jeanne [Goiran], of  236 Royal Road, Rose Hill, Mauritius

His younger brother, Henri Coutanceau, also joined the ATA, but did not progress beyond 'Cadet'.

Ed. Royal College of Mauritius, Curepipe; Loughborough College, Shrewsbury(?)

"He ended his studies in 1938, having been partly handicapped by asthma." - Henri Coutanceau


 m. Aug 1942 at St Laurence Church, Upminstrer, Essex, Pauline Doris [Weston]

prev. exp. 115 hrs on Tiger Moth, Oxford, Whitley

Sailed to the UK after the fall of France in 1940

Flt-Sgt, RAF from 23 Jan 1941 to 19 Nov 1942 (Pilot Officer from 1 Sep 1943)

Address in 1943: 19 Claremont Gardens, Upminster, Essex

Postings:  3FPP


This photo was taken by his brother Henri, only a few weeks before Maurice's death:

  Ferrying a Wellington from Broughton to Dumfries, Sep 1943


Hurricane II

d. 26 Oct 1943 (Died in ATA Service) - Hurricane IIc LE262 struck hillside at Flatfell, Kinniside Cleator, Cumberland, 10 miles E of St Bees Head, in bad weather 

buried St Laurence Church, Upminster, Essex


This commemorative plaque was placed in the church on 7 Apr and

dedicated at the parish mass on 14 May 2000"

- Henri Coutanceau and Alfred Ellis



 "Writtle Land worker bereaved.

Mrs Pauline Coutanceau, of Claremont Gardens, Upminster, of the Essex Women's Land Army, has received notification that her husband, Pilot-Officer Maurice Coutanceau. has been killed on active service. Pilot-Officer Coutanceau came from Mauritius early in the war to join the R.A.F and met Miss Pauline Weston, who was then in the W.L.A. at Writtle. They were married in August, 1942. The young wife continued in the W.L.A., in which she enrolled at the age of 17 in 1940. In training at the Writtle Institute she specialised in horticulture, and is employed by Mr. Lawrence Taylor, of Galleywood."Chelmsford Chronicle - 19 Nov 1943

 "Maurice had been interested in both aviation and photography since he was a small boy. Not long before he left Mauritius to join the RAF, on the 5th and the 22nd November in 1940 he had given two talks on the local Radio Station in Mauritius, one entitled 'Photography Through the Ages', and the other on
aviation entitled 'Commercial and Test Flights'.

There is also a plaque with Maurice's name on it in the French Protestant Church in Soho Square, London, commemorating the French Protestant (Huguenot)
Servicemen who died in action during the Second World War." - Henri Coutanceau


Pauline re-married in 1951


** with huge thanks to Maurice's niece Suzanne, who kindly shared many documents and photos of her father Henri, and her uncle Maurice.

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

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