16.11.1944 No. 78 OTU Wellington XIII JA563 F/O. Lloyd John Adams
Date: 16 November 1944 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 78 Operational Training Unit
Type: Wellington XIII
Code: Not known
Base: RAF Ein Shemer, Palestine
Location: Pano Arodhes, Cyprus
Pilot: F/O. Lloyd John Adams J/23878 RCAF Age 23 - Killed (1)
2nd Pilot: F/O. Neville Francis Nugent Morris 181171 RAFVR Age 20 - Killed (2)
Nav: F/O. Robert Keith James 162485 RAFVR Age 22 - Killed (3)
W/Op/ASV/AG: F/O. Ronald Coates 175331 RAFVR age 19 - Killed (4)
W/Op/ASV/AG: Sgt. Roy Leonard O'Sullivan 1822042 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (5
W/Op/ASV/AG: P/O. John Thomson (Jack) Coull 175337 RAFVR Age 23 - Safe but Injured (6)
ASV = Air to Surface Vessel Radar
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RAF Davidstow Moor now Davidstow Airfield and Cornwall at War Museum lies some 12 miles west of Launceston in Cornwall and, for a time in 1943, was the home of 547 Squadron, an anti-shipping and anti submarine squadron of RAF Coastal Command, equipped with Vickers Wellington XI and XIII bombers.
On Tuesday 21 September 1943 a newly promoted Flying Officer, Lloyd John Adams reported on posting as a 2nd Pilot from 20 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Kidlington, Oxfordshire.
Canadian Lloyd Adams, was from Windsor, Ontario and on the day of his arrival should have been celebrating his 22nd birthday. He had enlisted straight from school as soon as he turned 18 and had been married to his wife Jean for just over six months.
The following month, he replaced F/O. Douglas Simon, as 2nd Pilot of the crew of F/O. R. Burnett and on 14 October made his first local training flight with the crew and the next day, flew with the crew on a Percussion L patrol, unfortunately cut short when an engine fault forced their return to base.
Five days later on a second Percussion l patrol, unserviceable radar and rear turret intercom forced another early return to base.
On 21 October, the squadron was withdrawn from the line, to commence conversion to the Consolidated Liberator Mk V with operations to resume on 23 December 1943.
On 27 October the squadron relocated to RAF Thorney Island in Sussex, and two days later 12 crews were posted to the Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland for training on the four-engine Consolidated Liberator. Among those posted was the crew of F/O. Burnett including Lloyd Adams. The crews returned to Thorney Island on 22 November 1943.
On 10 January 1944 the Squadron moved to St. Eval in Cornwall and on 21 January recommenced operational flying. The Burnett crew however, had not completed conversion training on Liberators, and therefore returned to 1674 HCU for two weeks on 9 March in order to do so. After final training they returned to St Eval from where they carried out operational duties on Liberators throughout April, May and June 1944.
According to 547 Squadron records, Lloyd Adams was posted to 9 Operational Training Unit at RAF Crosby on Eden in Cumbria on 4 July 1944, however, the ORB also records that he flew patrols with the Burnett crew on both 7 and 11 July. From 12 July to 25 July 1944 he is recorded as being on embarkation leave.
9 OTU was disbanded on 11 August and on 10 August, Adams was posted to 1 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre at West Kirby in Cheshire but was yet again recorded as on embarkation leave from 12 August to 17 August 1944.
On 10 September 1944 he was posted to the Aircrew Recruiting Centre, Middle East and on 7 October 1944 to 78 Operational Training Unit at RAF Ein Shemer in Palestine.
Wireless/ASV operator/air gunner, Jack Coull aged 23 was 5' 6" with a fresh complexion, brown hair and blue grey eyes. A proud Scot, he hailed from Stonhaven, a small coastal town 10 miles south of Aberdeen. A Butcher in peacetime, he had enlisted in 1940 aged 19 and after wireless operator training in the UK had been posted to India for 18 months where he spent two short spells in the Combined Services Hospital at Barrackpore in Calcutta.
On returning to England in August 1943 he had further training as an airborne wireless operator and on 21 January 1944 was posted to 11 Radio School at Hooton Park, Bebington, Merseyside, the only school to train Coastal Command airborne radar operators for submarine detection. Following training at Hooton Park he was posted to 5 Personnel Despatch Centre at RAF Heaton Park, Manchester on 8 July and on 17 July to HQ RAF Middle East at Abu Sueir in Egypt. He proceeded to the Middle East on 21 July 1944.
On 28 August 1944 he was posted to 13 Air Gunnery School at RAF Ballah and on 7 October 1944, successfully completed the course with a pass of 81.9%
He then proceeded to 78 Operational Training Unit at Ein Shemer Palestine (date unknown but probably immediately on completion of gunnery course.
78 Operational Training Unit (RAF Coastal Command) was formed in February 1944 at RAF Ein Shemer, about 40 miles north of Tel Aviv, Palestine to train general reconnaissance crews particularly using Air to Surface Vessel Radar (ASV radar) and the Leigh light, a powerful carbon arc searchlight of 24 inches diameter fitted to a number of the RAF Coastal Command patrol bombers to help them spot surfaced German U-boats at night.
The details are not known, but Lloyd Adams and Jack Coull had subsequently crewed up with 2nd Pilot Neville Morris aged 20, from Wolverton in Buckinghamshire, navigator Robert James aged 22 from Belfast and wireless /ASV operators/air gunners Ronald Coates, aged 20 from Sheffield and 21 year old Londoner Roy O'Sullivan.
REASON FOR LOSS
Took off from RAF Ein Shemer in Palestine "soon after dusk". Although the exercise on which the aircraft was engaged was Non-Operational in nature its purpose was an Operational Night Flying Exercise consisting of a "First sighting and attack report on merchant shipping initiated by signal from base". The exercise was Operational Flying Exercise 10 and included splash firing i.e. firing at a target. (See map for details of the briefed route commencing at RAF Ein Shemer).
At 22.52 hours and approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes after take off Wellington JA563 crashed at Pano Arodhes, 15 miles north of Paphos on the island of Cyprus. The sole survivor was rear gunner P/O. John Thomson Coull who was badly injured and hospitalised.
Details of the crash as determined by RAF investigators and reported at the ensuing Court of Inquiry were:
Aircraft and Engine Log books, Authorisation book, Pilot's Log Book and Form 700 were all in order.
After visiting the scene before the aircraft was removed the RAF investigators found the following material facts:
That aircraft struck [a] hill in climbing attitude. The tail portion was 100 yds beyond point of impact and was burnt out due to ignition of a flame float*. The major portion of the wreckage was 100 yds beyond the tail portion and there was no indication of fire. The two engines were a further 50 yds along and 100 ft below in a gulch. The line of wreckage indicated the line of flight being roughly 220 deg. M.
[*a flame float is a small incendiary device that would float after being thrown out down the flare chute. The rear gunner would centre the "pip" on his reflector sight on the point of light and then read off the degree of deviation from a scale on his turret ring - this would provide the navigator with the degree of wind drift blowing the aircraft off track]
The conclusions of the Court of Inquiry were:
(a) Brief description of the accident and its attendant circumstances:
At approximately 22.52 hrs on the 16 November 1944. Wellington aircraft JA563 crashed into high ground at Pano Arodhes in Cyprus. The aircraft was totally wrecked. Five of the crew were killed instantly. The sixth member of the crew received serious injuries and is now in hospital.
(b) Diagnosis of cause or causes including all contributory factors:
The Court considers that the cause of the accident was due to faulty pilotage and navigation on the part of an inexperienced crew. At the time of the accident the 2nd Pilot P/O. Morris was at the controls. The Captain F/O. Adams was with the Navigator and on receiving information from the rear gunner (P/O. Coull) that they were over land, informed the 2nd Pilot over the intercom to climb using 4 lbs boost and 2400 RPM. He then proceeded forward and was heard to say just before the crash "Good God man, give her more boost." The Beacon P/O. Coull refers to was the "Pomos Point Beacon" flashing the characteristic "G"*. The Captain must have also seen this beacon and gone back to the Navigator to verify their position. During this time the aircraft lost height. Had they remained at the briefed height they would have cleared the mountains in this region of Cyprus. The Navigator's log which has been salvaged indicates that at 22.44 hrs the height was 2800 ft. So it is presumed that during the remaining eight minutes the aircraft lost height down to 1800 ft. at which point the crash occurred. This loss of height is considered due to the inexperience of the 2nd Pilot who has only flown as 2nd Pilot during the last six months with a total of 15-30 hrs as 2nd Pilot on Wellington.
It is considered that the SE was serviceable as no W/T message was received to the contrary and also on examination of the wreckage the SE homing aerials were switched on indicating it was in use. No SE log could be recovered from the wreckage.
The Court considers that there was no engine failure although there were slight signs of overheating.
[*Flashing green = Cleared to approach airport, or return to land]
(c) Recommendations: Nil
Signed by the President (or Investigating Officer): E. Cassidy S/Ldr
Member of Court: L. N. Batt F/Lt
27 November 1944
The Commanding Officer of RAF Station Ein Shemer, Group Captain G. M. Lindeman concurred with the findings of the Court. 27 November 1944
The Group Commander AVM Malcolm Taylor AOC 203 Group also concurred.
18 December 1944
4 January 1945 signed W/Cdr. H. Campbell for Air Marshall AOC in C ME Command.
SOLE SURVIVOR JACK COULL
As a result of the crash of 16 November 1944, Jack Coull was recorded as being 'Dangerously Injured'. He had suffered a broken neck, specifically, 'Compound Fractures to his 5th and 6th Dorsal Vertebrae' and 'Fractures of his Mandible and Maxilla' (upper and lower jaws). He is recorded as being hospitalised until 21 March 1945 and would necessarily have required a further significant recuperation period after leaving hospital. This recuperation would seem to have been a period of some three months as the next entry in his service record concerns his arrival at 22 Personnel Transit Camp at Almaza in Egypt on 24 June prior to his repatriation to the UK where, on 21 July 1945 he arrived at 7 Personnel Reception Centre at Harrogate in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
On 2 September 1945 he was posted to 1333 Transport Support Conversion Unit at RAF Leicester East for transport training on Dakotas.
On 4 October 1945 Jack was posted to 229 Group - Flying. (229 Group was the transport part of the Third Tactical Air Force formed in South Asia in December 1943, by the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was made up of squadrons and personnel from the RAF, Indian Air Force (IAF) and the air forces of other Commonwealth countries).
On 21 January 1946 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) (London Gazette 15 February 1946)
On 14 April 1946 he was posted to 104 Personnel Despatch Centre at RAF Hednesford in Staffordshire and on 18 July 1946 was demobilised.
He relinquished his commission on 1 July 1959 retaining the rank of Flight Lieutenant.
More information about Jack Coull can be found in his biographical details below
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) F/O. Lloyd John Adams was born on 21 September 1921 at Windsor, Ontario the son of Sydney Richard Adams (a Carpenter) and Gertrude May Adams nee Hall. He had a sister Eunice Adams born 1925 and three brothers, Stafford Adams born 1906, Everett Adams born 1913 and Robert Adams born 1916 and the family lived at 422 Windermere Road, Windsor.
He was educated at Assumption Street Public School, Windsor, Ontario until June 1935 and at Windsor Vocational School (1935-1939) studying Motor Mechanics. He played hockey, baseball and basketball. His hobby was building and flying model aircraft.
He enlisted at Windsor on 24 October 1939 when he was just turned 18. He was 5'8" tall weighing 145 lbs with a medium complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes.
With his background in Motor Mechanics he somewhat inevitably trained as an Aero Engine Mechanic at No. 1 Technical Training School at RCAF St. Thomas, Ontario from February to June 1940 and on 1 September 1941 was promoted to Corporal. The following year he volunteered for air crew and commenced pilot training on 25 April 1942 at No. 2 Flying Training School at RCAF Uplands at Ontario and after further training at No. 5 Initial Training School, RCAF Belleville, No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School, RCAF St. Eugene and No. 2 Service Flying Training School, RCAF Uplands, all in Ontario he was awarded his Pilots Badge on 19 February 1943 when he was also commissioned as a Pilot Officer.
Twelve days later on 3 March 1943 he married Jean Lillian Edna Adams (nee Macmillan) of Edmonton, Alberta. They lived at 68 Rosemere Avenue, Ottawa and had a son John Gregory Adams born in 1944
Three days after his marriage Lloyd was posted to No. 31 General Reconnaissance School at RCAF Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island where he took a twelve week training course in the techniques of patrolling oceans using the Avro Anson.
If you can help with the identity of any of the others in the above photograph please contact our helpdesk
On 16 June 1943 he embarked for the UK disembarking on 24 June and was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre. On 13 July he was posted to No. 20 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Kidlington, Oxfordshire. His promotion to Flying Officer on 19 August was followed on 21 September by a posting to No. 547 Squadron of Coastal Command. From 29 October to 22 November he was attached to 1674 Heavy Conversion Unit at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland and again from 9 March to 22 March 1944. He was posted to No. 9 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit also at RAF Aldergrove on 4 July 1944 and on 18 August 1944 he was posted to No. 1 Personnel Despatch Centre at RAF West Kirby on Merseyside. On 10 September 1944 he was posted to No. 1 Middle East Aircrew Reception Centre, Jerusalem and by 7 October 1944 he was at RAF Ein Shemer with No. 78 Operational Training Unit.
His funeral on 18 November 1944 was conducted by S/Ldr. Rev. Pratt, Chaplain of RAF Station Nicosia, with Full Military Honours
(2) F/O. Neville Francis Nugent Morris was born in 1924 at Bridgnorth, Shropshire the son of Richard Edmund and Annie May Morris nee Morgan later of Wolverton, Buckinghamshire. He had one sibling: Hubert R. J. Morris born 1922.
1624073 Acm. 2nd Class N.F.N. Morris was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 13 May 1944 (London Gazette 25 July 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 13 November 1944 (London Gazette 8 December 1944)
He is commemorated on The Radcliffe School Roll of Honour, Wolverton and the Wolverton and Old Wolverton War Memorial, Buckinghamshire.
The above photograph was taken at a studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Newspaper report re new Memorial Window at the Church of Saint Francis de Sales at Wolverton, colour photograph of Memorial Window on which one of those commemorated is F/O. Neville Francis Morris and Dedication Plaque of 2 May 1948.
Courtesy Sharon Fitzsimons.
(3) F/O. Robert Keith James was born in 1922, the son of Robert James (an Engineer) and Edith Gertrude James, of 7 Kilhorne Gardens, Knock, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
1795825 Acm. 2nd Class Robert Keith James was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 18 March 1943 (London Gazette 23 May 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer on 18 September 1944 (London Gazette 29 September 1944)
He was an undergraduate of Queens University of Belfast Faculty of Medicine and is listed among those commemorated by the University as follows:
"There is a group of Queensmen who deserve our special gratitude: those who while still undergraduates forsook their studies to fight, and some to die, that we might live".
(4) F/O. Ronald Coates was born in 1925 at Eccleshall Bierlow in the West Riding of Yorkshire the son of Herbert Coates (a Postman) and Gertrude Coates nee Ashmore. He had two siblings: Herbert Coates (1920-1924) and Cyril Coates (1923-1924).
In 1939 the family lived at 5 Burdall's Buildings, Sheffield.
1591354 Sgt. Ronald Coates was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 14 January 1944 (London Gazette 21 November 1944) confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer on 14 July 1944 (London Gazette 22 December 1944)
He is commemorated on St Marys Church War Memorial, Hadfield St., Walkley, Sheffield and the Sheffield Post Office War Memorial.
(5) Sgt. Roy Leonard O'Sullivan was born in 1923 at West Ham, Essex the son of Jeremiah M. O'Sullivan (a Dock Labourer) and Jessie R. O'Sullivan nee Case. He had a brother Peter William O'Sullivan born 1931. In 1939 the family lived at 143 Sutton Court Road, West Ham. In the UK World War II Index to Allied Airmen Roll of Honour 1939-1945 Roy Leonard O'Sullivan is recorded as residing at Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire, Scotland
(6) P/O. John Thomson (Jack) Coull was born on 5 January 1921 at Newton Cottages, Marykirk, Kincardineshire, Scotland the son of Charles Coull (a Bus Driver) and Jessie Ann Shand Coull nee Adams. He had three siblings: Angus William Adams Coull (1922-1940), Charles Coull (1923-2003) and Edith Rose Coull (1924-2011). He married Helen Donald Ross at Stonehaven, Dunnottar, Kincardineshire, Scotland on 31 October 1945 and they went on to have three children: Kenneth William Coull born 1946 at Stonehaven, Dunnottar, Kincardineshire, Scotland, Ian Thomson Coull born 1947 at Stonehaven, Dunnottar, Kincardineshire, Scotland and Katharine Anne Gavin Coull.
1123161 Sgt. John Thomson Coull was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 21 January 1944 (London Gazette 18 July 1944), confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 21 July 1944. He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war Subs) on 21 January 1946 (London Gazette 15 February 1946).
After leaving the RAF Jack Coull worked in the Middle East as a seismic instruments operator ‘observer’, in the oil exploration business, probably for BP. In 1952 he worked in seismic exploration in British Honduras and after further training in the field of radio emigrated to Canada arriving in November 1953 and where he enjoyed a long and successful career with Western Geophysical until his retirement in 1986.
His wife Helen and two sons Kenneth and Ian joined him in Canada in 1954 where, in due course, daughter, Katharine was born.
Originally living in Edmonton for 14 years, Jack and Helen spent their next 35 years in Calgary, before moving back to Edmonton.
Jack passed away peacefully on January 12, 2006, at the age of 85. Cause of death - lung & metastatic brain cancer
His cremated remains were interred on 19 May 2006 at Fetteresso (Broomhill) Cemetery, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Lair (grave) K 15
Cremains interred on 19 May 2006 by his wife, 3 children and their spouses and Mary Pirrie and her daughter Paddy Christie
(Biographical details kindly provided by Ian Coull).
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
(1) F/O. Lloyd John Adams was buried on 18 November 1944 at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.4.
His epitaph reads:
Just when life was sweetest
Our Saviour called him home
(2) F/O. Neville Francis Nugent Morris was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.5.
His epitaph reads:
"Weep not for me,
Tears are in vain,
But trust in God
We'll meet again" R.I.P.
(3) F/O. Robert Keith James was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.6.
His epitaph reads
"O Lord, abide with me"
(4) F/O. Ronald Coates was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.7.
His epitaph reads:
"In my Father's house
Are many mansions"
Love is eternal.
(5) Sgt. Roy Leonard O'Sullivan was buried at the Nicosia War Cemetery, Cyprus. Grave reference 3.A.8.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - April 2017
With thanks to the sources quoted below.