Cole, Kenneth John

Date of birth:
1919 (Wellingborough/Northamptonshire, Great Britain)
Service number:
569476
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Kenneth Cole enlisted in the Royal Air Force as Aircraft Apprentice, at RAF Halton on 26 June 1936. He was posted No. 29 Squadron at Debden on 5 January 1939 and from there to Singapore, late August 1939 where he joined No. 230 Squadron which was equipped with Sunderlands.
He moved with the squadron to Ceylon, February 1940, before the squadron was transferred to Middle East Command, May 1940. Initially flying out of Egypt the squadron flew reconnaissance sorties for the Mediterranean Fleet and anti-submarine patrols. He was promoted to Sergeant as of 1.3.1941.
With the German invasion of Greece in April 1941, 228 and 230 Squadrons were tasked with the evacuation of 900 refugees from the Greek coast. These included senior Allied Commanders and the King of Greece. Cole's Sunderland, piloted by Wing-Commander P.R. Woodward, evacuated the King of the Hellenes from Greece to Crete for which Cole as the entire crew of seven received Greek awards. He did not receive the award until 1962, at which time he was sent the Greek Air Force Cross and relevant bestowal document.
Cole continued to serve with the squadron until 31.5.1943, when he was posted for service in an instructional capacity. Finally he was discharged 2.3.1949.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Sergeant
Unit:
No. 230 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
September 18th, 1942
Recommendation:
"This airman has completed over 1,000 hours operational flying involving 168 sorties as Fitter and Engineer/Air Gunner on Sunderlands. In the course of these operations, the aircraft in which he served has performed valuable reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols, the successful completion of which was due in no small measure to the outstanding qualities of coolness and resource shown by him. He contributed extremely valuable work whilst the aircraft was engaged on the evacuation of British forces from Crete and Greece, the unfailing serviceability of his aircraft under difficult conditions being largely the result of his untiring efforts. The aircrew of which he was a member have been responsible for the destruction of three enemy fighters in aerial combat and carried out 12 attacks on hostile submarines, two of which were definitely sunk and at least three severely damaged."
Investiture took place on 3 May, 1945.
Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
March 26th, 1945

Sources