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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 228722
Last updated: 4 September 2019
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Date:31-MAY-1940
Time:day
Type:Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I
Owner/operator:264 Squadron Royal Air Force (264 Sqn RAF)
Registration: L6975
C/n / msn: PS-W
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:English Channel, near Dunkerque, Pas de Calais, Hauts de France -   France
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I L6975 (PS-W) 264 Squadron, RAF: Written off (destroyed) when lost (failed to return) for a combat air patrol. Both crew killed. According to the official Air Ministry file into the incident (File AIR 81/728): "Defiant L6975 in air operations over Belgium, 31 May 1940. Acting Corporal A Lippett and Acting Flight Lieutenant N G Cooke: missing presumed dead"

The biography of the pilot (Nicholas Graham Cooke) has the following to say about this incident:

"On posting to No. 264 Squadron, Cooke teamed up with 348039 Acting Corporal Albert Lippett, a married 37-year-old RAF veteran originally from Great Yarmouth, who lived at Dunfermline. Lippett had joined the RAF aged 17 and completed a 12-year engagement before discharge, only to rejoin for four more years in 1935–39. He had been working in an aircraft factory until he was recalled for service in September 1939.

On 12 May 1940, operating over the Dutch coast, Cooke and Lippett shot down a Heinkel He 111 bomber and on 27 May 1940 they joined several other Defiants to destroy another over Dunkirk. They had a big success at about 15:15 hours on 29 May 1940, in two patrols above the Dunkirk beaches, when they shot down two Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters, a Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin engine fighter and then five Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers at about 19:30 hours.

During the afternoon, they joined in the destruction of two Junkers Ju 88 bombers, which brought their score to nine victories and three shared.

Two days later, while in action over the Dunkirk beaches against a formation of Heinkel He 111 bombers and escorting Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters, their flight of Defiants was attacked and Cooke and Lippett's Boulton Paul Defiant Mark I (serial number L6975), was shot down. Both men were lost when it crashed into the sea and were listed as killed in action.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. A memorial was later erected to Cooke at Blakeney in Norfolk.

Crew of Defiant L6975:
Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Gresham "Lanky" Cooke (pilot), RAF 37652, DFC, age 26, posted 31/05/1940, as missing, presumed killed
Corporal Albert Lippett (Air Gunner) RAF 248039, DFM, aged 37, posted 31/05/40 as missing, presumed killed

Flight Lieutenant Nicholas G. Cooke was posthumously awarded to the DFC and Corporal Albert Lippett was likewise awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal posthumously; both on the 14 June 1940, two weeks after their presumed deaths, in recognition of their claimed shooting down of eight enemy aircraft on 29 May 1940 (one Bf-110, two Bf-109s and five Ju-87 Stukas).

Sources:

1. Royal Air Force Aircraft L1000-L9999 (James J Halley, Air Britain, 1978)
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/728: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14502612
3. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1084891/cooke,-nicholas-gresham/
4. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1078765/lippett,-albert/
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Gresham_Cooke
6. http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/264-squadron-patrol-over-dunkirk-calais-friday-31st-may-1940.19870/#post-240203
7. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15248226/nicholas-gresham-cooke
8. http://www.cieldegloire.com/002_raf_cooke_n_g.php

The pilots of 264 Squadron in front of a Boulton Paul Defiant. Nicholas Gresham "Lanky" Cooke can be seen 2nd from left 264 Squadron CH197

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Sep-2019 22:33 Dr. John Smith Added
03-Sep-2019 22:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code]
04-Sep-2019 06:35 stehlík49 Updated [Operator]
04-Sep-2019 06:36 stehlík49 Updated [Operator]

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