Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sergeant Pilot Albert Digby Cooper - No. 108 Squadron

November 3, 1942 - Canadians in one of the busiest R.A.F. bomber squadrons in Egypt find smashing up Rommel's retreating columns a more exciting job than flying the nightly "milk route" to Tobruk. The squadron has almost lost count of tons of high explosives dropped in the past few weeks. Canadians have been the the battle from all angles including the view a crew in the Wellington captained by Sergeant Pilot Albert Digby Cooper got when it skimmed homeward only a few feet above an artillery barrage. Cooper, whose crew includes two other R.C.A.F. men, Sergeants J.K. Lawson, Thorold, and P.J. Hom, was returning from a raid on Fuka when an engine cut out. He lost height so rapidly he couldn't reach his base, and pointed the nose groundward. Skimming over the artillery barrage, he set the bomber down just inside the British front line. "One minute less flying time and we would have landed smack in the middle of No-Man's-Land." Advance British troops picked up the crew and headed them for the rear. "Toughest part was the long walk back," said Hom. "We couldn't get a transport as every darn thing was moving the other way." Since the push against Rommel began, night squadrons have taken over where day bombers left off. The usual routine for No. 108 Squadron is two trips nightly on alternate nights. (Pilot Officer Cooper was killed in a flying accident, June 16, 1944)

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