Preparation
  Sergeant William Cotterill - 429 Squadron  
 

Sergeant William Hobson Cotterill - RAFVR 

 
Sergeant William Cotterill was serving as Flight Engineer on board Halifax Mk.V LK622 coded AL-Q during an operation to Leipzig on February 19/20, 1944. The aircraft failed to return, three of the seven men aboard were killed, including Sgt William Cotterill.

The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Trade

Hometown

Age

F/O Leslie Fincham

RCAF

Pilot

Toronto, Ontario

22

Sgt William Cotterill

RAFVR

Flight Engineer

Bradford, England

35

F/Sgt Oscar Morrison

RCAF

Navigator

Toronto, Ontario

27

F/O M. Meech - POW

RCAF

Bomb Aimer

-

-

W/O2 S. Mingle - POW

RCAF

W/Op/AG

-

-

Sgt L. Martin - POW

RCAF

Air Gunner

-

-

Sgt V. Barton - POW

RCAF

Air Gunner

-

-

 Sergeant Cotterill's body and parachute were found in a snow covered field by a Polish farm worker working at Dachwig and it is believed that he was too low to bale out and for his parachute to open successfully. The Luftwaffe examined the body, took all personal effects and ordered it to be buried in the local cemetery. On the 9th of April 1944,this body was placed in a coffin and buried in an individual grave (3144). A cross was erected, bearing the inscription in German-"Here lies an unknown Canadian Airman". Nothing was known of the other two members of this crew.

Letter to Sgt Cotterill's wife.

Letter from Canada

 A later exhumation of the body on the 4th of December 1947,carried out by Captain J.B.Cheetham of 56 G.C.U., assisted by F/O R.P.Hunter of Berlin detachment, M.R.E.S revealed that the body was wearing an RAF type battledress with a Sergeants chevron, (brevet not found, probably previously removed), no shirt or markings of any kind. The body has been re- buried in the British cemetery Heerstrasse, Berlin in Plot VIII, Row C; Grave 33. The body therefore could be that of P/O Morrison RCAF or Sergeant Cotterill RAF.

 According to German documents captured at the end of the war, state that at the time of the crash, German investigators were of the opinion the body was that of Sergeant Cotterrill, RAF. The case remains open today.

 William Cotterill was the husband of Bridget of Eccleshill, Bradford, Yorkshire. He joined 429 squadron on the 31st of December 1943.
 

 
  Photos courtesy of Michael Cotterill, research by Linda Ibrom.