John Moss Cohen

Wireless Operator/Observer, 54 OTU
Service number 1334838
Died 15 Nov 1941
Buried Willesden Jewish Cemetery
Age 19

John was born on 31 Dec 1921 in Hampstead to George and Ruby Marie nee Isaacs. He had two older sisters Dulcie and Eileen and a younger brother Michael. He attended Clifton College and is listed as boarding at the college on the 1939 Register.

John attested at Weston-super-Mare in 1940 when he was 18 years old.

On 15 Nov 1941, John was the observer in Blenheim T2324 which was on a training exercise. They were flying in the Wetherby area when the aircraft was attacked in error at around 08.25hrs by two Spitfires belonging to 121 Squadron, the pilots of the Spitfires had mistaken the Blenheim for that of a twin engined Junkers Ju88. The Blenheim’s port engine caught fire and after the pilot attempted to use the extinguisher to no effect he ordered his gunner to abandon the aircraft and then made good his escape. Sadly the gunner was unable to get clear of the aircraft and deploy his parachute before the aircraft began to break up in the air, it then crashed at 10.15hrs in the area of Wetherby racecourse. The main bulk of the aircraft crashed onto the middle of the racecourse and bits also fell in the gardens of Audby House. Races were due to be held the day after this incident and were apparently switched to the steeplechase track. A Court of Inquiry was held the day after this incident in which P/O Stepp and Brown were found guilty and sentenced to a few days detention. The pilot, Peter Hunt Cleaver RAFVR (103590), survived.