Yorkshire airman remembered

Sgt Ernest Alexander Kelly, a member of the crew of a Vickers Wellington MK III lost over France.
Sgt Ernest Alexander Kelly, a member of the crew of a Vickers Wellington MK III lost over France.
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The bravery of a Yorkshire airman and his fellow crew members, thought to have been on a secret mission to an unknown target in Germany when their plane crashed, is to be remembered in the French village where his plane came down.

A plea has been issued for any relatives of World War Two airman Stanley Cookson, thought to have been from the Rotherham area, who flew as an air gunner, to get in touch.

He was on a mission with 29 Operational Training Unit on January 14 1943, he and the crew of the Vickers Wellington Mark III were lost. It is believed that this was in fact a Special Operations Executive mission to an unknown target in Germany, departing from RAF Woolfox Lodge, in Pickworth, Rutland.

As such, because of the secretive nature of the operation very little is known about the crew, some of whom were from Canada.

Ian Reed, Museum Director, at the Yorkshire Air Museum, near York, said of the operation: “It could have been to either provide resources for the French resistance or to drop special forces.”

The aircraft crashed in France and because of this, French historian Phillippe Ducastelle, from the Groupes Lourds French Veterans Association, is seeking to place a Memorial to this crew in France.

Mr Reed said a commemoration would be held later this month as a way of marking and remembering the crew’s bravery.

He said the French people were keen to: “commemorate those who were killed in attempting to liberate France.”

Saint-Rémy-Boscrocourt, near Dieppe, is a small village in northern France.

Other crew members were: Sgt Ernest Alexander Kelley, the pilot; George William Brothwell, the navigator; Donald Cecil Nelson, bombardier and Albert Stanley Grove, wireless operator/air gunner.

The Allied Air Forces Memorial and Yorkshire Air Museum trying to find further information about the crew, and particularly images of the crew with the aircraft, and it is understood that Stanley Cookson came from the Rotherham area.

If anyone does have information that may be useful, they should contact the museum by telephoning 01904 608595, e-mailing: museum@yorkshireairmuseum.org or by writing to the: Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, York, YO41 4AU.