Stanley Herbert Ross "Stan" Cotterill

RCAF   F/L   -   DFC

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Dave Forsyth hands Stan Cotterill a package courtesy of Edmonton's Lions Club & City Council. One advantage of being adopted by a city!

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London, Feb. 8, 1944 - (CP) - The number of R.C.A.F. units now overseas has been swelled to about 40 with the arrival in the United Kingdom of several squadrons.
Overseas headquarters announced the arrival today and said the units arrived with a full complement of air and ground crews, but did not disclose the type of squadrons. The airmen, who came from many parts of Canada, included fighter pilots, some of whom have completed one tour of operations overseas.
The announcement said the units, which were accompanied by a large draft of personnel for all branches of the service, including the Women's Division and nursing sisters, were complete. They arrived by ocean transport, presumably without aircraft, which probably will be provided in the United Kingdom.
Welcoming them, G/C G. C. Bond of the Air Ministry said: "We are most grateful for all the Dominions are doing in all parts of the world and especially for the very large part your airmen now are taking in the air offensive in Europe, which is a magnificent contribution toward hastening victory.
Canada's air arm in the United Kingdom alone includes the bomber group, flying giant Lancasters and Halifaxes, two fighter wings with Spitfires, and other squadrons equipped with Beaufighters, Mosquitos and Mustangs, as well as Coastal Command flying boat units.
A Canadian Spitfire fighter squadron is in action in Italy and there is a flying boat unit in Ceylon.
S/L Brad Walker, D.F.C., of London, Ont., was one of the pilots returning for a second tour of operations. He has seen action against the Germans in Europe and the Japanese in the Aleutians. Others included S/L H. W. McLeod, D.F.C. and Bar, Regina, and S/L W. H. Pentland, Calgary, who distinguished themselves in Britain and the Middle East, and S/L R. W. Norris of Saskatoon, who has flown in Britain, Newfoundland and Canada. Walker is among a number of fliers holding the United States Air Medal for deeds over the Atlantic.

Ontario arrivals included:
F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, 3 Claxton Blvd., Toronto; F/Os J. T. Marriott, C. E. Scarlett, Toronto; W. I. Williams, Tilbury; A. Hunter, Hamilton; A. J. Horrell, Windsor; D. G. Burgin, Windsor; J. H. Houser, 362 Herkimer St., Hamilton; P/Os S. Breggman, A. A. Cole, H. M. Dale, C. E. Whitaker, Toronto; L. H. Wilson, Stratford; V. A. Stortz, Kenilworth; J. G. N. LeJambe, Timmins; F/Ss M. E. Maloney, 674 Kingston, Rd., Toronto; W. E. Deforest, Merritton; J. H. E. Contant, Cornwall; Sgts. J. M. Turner, Peterborough;. D. A. Veri, Hagersville; K. L. Roth, Woodstock; W. G. Dunk, Fort William; J. E. Dale and M. G. Richardson, Ottawa.


Born in Beamsville, Ontario, 30 October 1919
Son of Gordon and Mary Angela Cotterill of Toronto
Home in Toronto
Enlisted there 25 September 1940
Trained at
No.2 ITS, Regina (14 Oct. 1940 to 4 Nov. 1940)
No.6 EFTS, Prince Albert (from 4 Nov. 1940) &
No.4 SFTS, Saskatoon (from 4 Jan. 1941)
Winged 17 March 1941 and promoted to Sergeant)
Attended Central Flying School, Trenton, 25 March 1941
No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, 24 June 1941 as instructor
Posted to No.36 OTU, Greenwood, 29 October 1943
Posted to No.1 "Y" Depot, Halifax, 15 January 1944
Arrived in the UK, 31 January 1944
Posted to No.60 OTU, 29 February 1944
Posted to 418 Squadron, 2 May 1944

KIA 18 October 1944 with F/L C. G. Finlayson - (who was tour expired & no longer doing Ops. He had been Navigator to Lou Luma & Charlie Scherf. All together he helped destroy over 16 planes).

He is buried in the Belgrade War Cemetery, Yugoslavia, in the Uliga Baju Sekulica, in the city's Fifth Region, it is on the edge of the New Yugoslav Cemetery (Novo Groblije). Joint grave 6. D. 3.

DFC presented to next-of-kin, 2 December 1946.


Toronto Flyer Downs Four in Single Night

London, June 8, 1944 — (CP Cable) — Four enemy aircraft were shot down in a single night's hunting by F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, of Toronto, 24-year-old member of the City of Edmonton Intruder Squadron, while roaming over France last night.
The four-destroyed score, made over Chateaudun and Orleans, 150 miles inside France, equaled the intruder record for one night set up last month by S/L R. A. Kipp, of Kamloops, B.C., a member of the same Mosquito squadron.


Veteran Pilot Shoots Down Another Plane
F/L Johnson Adds to His Tally Over Invasion Beaches

June 30, 1944 - A veteran Hamilton Spitfire pilot, who shot down a Hun fighter over the invasion beaches on June 7, the day after D-day, blasted another from the skies over France yesterday to help boost the Canadian record for the day to 26 enemy planes destroyed. He is F/L G. W. Johnson, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson, 102 Beachwood Avenue.
Dispatches from overseas carry no details on individual dog fights, but reveal it was the greatest day of the war for fighter pilots from the Dominion.
F/L Johnson, who served in Canada for a year before being posted overseas late last spring, has been on operations nearly a year. He may have completed a tour of operations and be well into a second.
A former student at Prince of Wales School and Central High School of Commerce, he was employed by the Steel Company of Canada at the time of his enlistment. His father is a veteran of the last Great War.
F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, formerly of Beamsville, who shot down four planes on the night the invasion was launched, is a friend of F/L Johnson. F/L Cotterill instructed him when he was in training at the Dunnville station.


Forgotten Man of Air Forces, the Navigator, Comes Into His Own Again

With the R.C.A.F. in England, Aug. 4, 1944 — (CP) — Forgotten men of the night intruder squadrons are the "half-wing flyers," the navigators who play such a part in making possible the exploits of the full-wing men, the pilots.

Up in Front
It is the pilot you hear of when the Mosquitoes come streaking home from their night sorties far into German territory but without the navigator the pilot could go nowhere and it might be taken as symbolic that in the modern night fighter, the man who used to be in the back seat — the navigator — has moved up front with the pilot.
It puts the navigator in his proper place, not as he used to be in the old night-fighting Beaufighter, back of the pilot. Today they sit side by side in the same cockpit, boys like F/O P. Huletsky, of Montreal, who won a D.F.C. for his navigating of S/L Bob Kipp, D.S.O., D.F.C., of Kamloops, B.C., in the City of Edmonton Intruder Squadron.
Together these two have ranged the length and breadth of Germany under cover of darkness. Together on May 3 they set up a record, destroying four FW-190's in one sortie where navigation was all important.
Huletsky plotted them away from England about 10 o'clock in the gathering dusk. He took them across enemy territory at tree-top height on the way to Munich, and near Lake Ammer, 20 miles southwest of Munich, they got their first victim Then they went on to Grenzburg, got two over an airfield, and then on to another airfield for their fourth kill.

Plotted Course
Or take F/O W. Stewart, of Toronto, who navigated for S/L Charlie Scherf, an Australian with the City of Edmonton Squadron, with at least 9½ enemy planes downed. Stewart plotted the course for Scherf on the same night all the way to the Baltic. They got flying boats at Ribnitz. Then they went to Barth and then on to another airfield at Griefswold. It takes navigating to find those places.
Every successful intruder operation depends on the skill of the navigators whose job demands an inexhaustible patience as well as vigilance and skill. Then, when the enemy does appear in the gun sights, it is the pilot who deals the death blow while the navigator sits back and watches the final triumph go to the man at his side.
The fault probably is with the system of reporting "kills," crediting them directly to the pilots, because the pilots themselves appreciate the navigator.
Usually it takes an older man than the pilot to accept the navigator's position, a man like Sgt. Edward McKenna who navigates for F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, of Toronto. They went out the night the invasion started and shot down four enemy aircraft.
Ed McKenna & Stan Cotterill
Sgt E McKenna & FO S Cotterill
"How old do you think I am?" McKenna asked when he had landed. He looked about 25. But it turned out he was 32, enough older than his pilot that he could accept the position of equal share in the job without, in the public mind, getting quite his share of the glory.


Shoots Down Four Germans, Beamsville Man Wins D.F.C.

Sept. 1, 1944 - For shooting down four German aircraft over northern France on D-day, F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, of Beamsville, is one of four Canadians awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is the son of G. E. R. Cotterill, of Beamsville.
His citation states: "This officer has completed numerous sorties and has set a fine example of skill and resolution. On the night of June 6, 1944, F/L Cotterill shot down four enemy aircraft over an area in northern France — a feat which testifies to his exceptional keenness and determination to engage the enemy. On other occasions F/L Cotterill has operated against enemy airfields and railway installations with success."


Three Toronto Airmen Win Gallantry Awards

Three Toronto airmen have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry overseas, RCAF headquarters at Ottawa announced last night. A fourth recipient of the DFC was from Western Canada.
The Toronto men are P/O J. D. Sharples, 52 Wineva Ave.; P/O L. Pappas, 223 Connolly Ave., and F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, whose address is given as Toronto and Beamsville. The fourth decoration winner was F/O J. D. Wright of Rosthern, Sask.
Cotterill shot down four enemy aircraft over France on D-Day, equaling the Intruder record for one night. He went overseas five months ago after nearly three years instructional duty in Canada. The 24-year-old pilot has "eyes like a cat," his mother, Mrs. Gordon Cotterill, said at the time of the original announcement of his feat. He was born in Beamsville.

Pappas displayed "superb skill" when, in co-operation with his gunners, he managed to weave his aircraft in such a manner that they were able to evade the double attack of an enemy fighter, setting the enemy plane on fire.
Sharples, with his pilot aided in destroying four enemy aircraft, and damaged several more on the ground.
Sharples was born in Toronto, spent eight years in California during childhood, and returned to Toronto, where he completed his education. He attended Balmy Beach Public School and Eastern Commerce, where he was a medalist. He was a member of the Balmy Beach Canoe Club, and was on the executive of the Kew Beach Young Men's Class. Enlisting in the RCAF Nov. 9, 1940, he trained at Malton, Jarvis and in New Brunswick, going overseas exactly one year from the time he entered the service. The young airman was 22 on Aug. 14 last.


COTTERILL, F/L Stanley Herbert Ross (J4874) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.418 Sq.
Award effective 1 September 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2373/44 dated 3 November 1944.

This officer has completed numerous sorties and has set a fine example of skill, courage and resolution. One night in June 1944 Flight Lieutenant Cotterill shot down four enemy aircraft over an area in northern France, a feat which testifies to his exceptional keenness and determination. On other occasions, Flight Lieutenant Cotterill has operated against enemy airfields and railway installations with success.


City of Edmonton Squadron Alone Has 79½ to Credit — Bannock Leads

Ottawa, Oct. 5, 1944 - (CP) - The R.C.A.F. City of Edmonton Mosquito Intruder Squadron helped defend Britain against robot bomb attacks and had a score of 79½, an air force release said last night. They got the "half" for a bomb they shattered but didn't stop, and it crashed in open country. Top scorer in the squadron is S/L Russel Bannock, D.F.C., of 490 Strathmore Boulevard, Toronto, who has "killed" 18½.

Wonder Shooting
Before the squadron took up its "doodle-bug hunting," Bannock had destroyed four enemy aircraft and scored a "probable" during intruder patrols.
Fellow-pilots told of Bannock's wonder shooting. He got four in one night, which is the record for an individual member of the squadron.
A number of crews of the squadron are credited with flying-bomb kills since they were put on the work the night of June 14, when the Nazis first began to use their secret weapon.
F/L S. H. R. Cotterill, D.F.C., of 5 Claxton Boulevard, Toronto, has shot down four bombs.

Like Great half-Moon
"We used to stooge around," he said, "just out from the launching area in France. We were the first-line night fighter patrol. Sometimes we could see the actual launchings—a launching looks like a great half-moon of brilliant explosion. Then, when the thing came up, and it could be spotted by the steady glow from the rear end, we dived down vertically on them at full throttle.
Several kites would line up on one bomb, and if the first one missed, then the others would go down for a try. After our dive on the thing, we would level out and let go with a quick burst, and then if you were too close you'd be thrown all over the sky by the explosion, or flying debris would damage the machine. Sometimes, from a distance, we weren't always sure whether there was a doodlebug or not, so we used to line up the light with a star, and then, if it moved, in we went."
S/L R. G. Gray, of Edmonton has "killed" two flying bombs.

New Technique
"We had to develop an entirely new technique to fight them," he said. "There was certainly nothing in our flying training to give us a hint. For the first couple of nights the most we knew was that Jerry had a new secret weapon, and we had to go get it. We didn't know if the things would blow up in the air and whip us. Some did blow up, of course, and we had to fly through the debris.
"The flash of the explosion blinded us, and afterward we had to grope our way, guiding the crate by the feel of the controls. As the days went by we began to know what the flying bombs would do, and we began to develop a habit of closing one eye as we shot for a 'kill,' so that when the flash had disappeared - if we were lucky enough to hit the thing - we had one eye serviceable for the darkness. Knocking down the doodlebugs was harder work than going after enemy aircraft."
He said that some of the flying-bombs showed signs of having been tampered with by French underground agents. One he was attacking suddenly wobbled, veered around, then came flying toward him. He let it go by to crash on the German fortified coast.
F/L C. J. Evans, of Brantford, got three bombs on the night of June 24. After shooting one down, he tackled another in mid-Channel. He ran in close and fired and the bomb blew up, blinding him by the blast and debris, knocking out one of his engines. Then, soon after he had regained control of his stricken machine and his sight, he spotted a third bomb and swung in to shoot it down.

Best Feat of All
His squadron comrades reckoned it to be the best feat of any night, for they said it was a difficult enough business shooting down a doodlebug with two good engines. They figured getting a "kill" with only one engine was almost an impossibility.
The squadron only lost one aircraft during the battle. Several machines returned severely damaged by blast or flying debris and some came back with their paint work entirely stripped off by the blast.
It has not been possible yet to total all the kills for which Canadian airmen have been responsible. Many Canadian airmen were flying during the battle with R.A.F. squadrons, and it is likely that a high proportion of the 1000 and more flying-bombs brought down from the air fell to the guns of men from the Dominion.


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, Nov. 28, 1944 — The Department of National Defense for Air today issued Casualty List No. 1052 of the Royal Canadian Air Force showing next of kin of those named from Ontario as follows (in part):

Missing After Air Operations
COTTERILL, Stanley Herbert Ross, DFC., F/L Mrs. Gordon Cotterill (mother), 3 Claxton Blvd., Toronto.
FINLAYSON, Colin Gowans, DFC. and Bar, F/O Victoria, B.C.

Reported Prisoner of War (Germany)
HILL, George Urquhart, DFC and 2 Bars, S/L Napudogan, N.B.

F/L Stanley Herbert Ross Cotterill, DFC, 24, is reported missing on a special mission over enemy territory on Oct. 18, according to official word received by his mother, Mrs. Gordon Cotterill of 3 Claxton Blvd. His name appeared in an air force casualty list issued at Ottawa yesterday along with that of F/O Colin Cowans Finlayson, DFC and Bar, of Victoria, B.C., who was his navigator on the mission.
Cotterill received his Distinguished Flying Cross last September on the night after D-Day when he bagged four German planes in the dark. With "perfect" night vision, according to air force tests, he has also built himself a reputation as a robomb destroyer during his nine months overseas. Before being posted to operations he served in Canada for nearly three years as an instructor.
Born in Beamsville, Ont., F/L Cotterill attended Beamsville High School and was employed at the imperial Bank, Bolton, Ont., before enlisting. His brother, Benedict, is training at the Service Flying Training School in Winnipeg, and expects to get his wings in March. Their father is a member of the Veterans' Guard stationed at Bowmanville.


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, Sept. 10, 1945 — The Department of National Defense for Air today issued casualty lists Nos. 1,266, 1,267 and 1,268, of the Royal Canadian Air Force, showing next-of-kin of those named from Ontario (in part):

Previously Missing, Now Officially Presumed Dead

COTTERILL, Stanley Herbert Ross, DFC, F/L Mrs. Gordon Cotterill (mother), 3 Claxton Blvd., Toronto.

Previously Missing, Now Officially Presumed Dead

FINLAYSON, Colin Gowans, DFC and Bar, F/L, Victoria.


Victories Include :

6 June 1944

22/23 June 1944
27/28 June 1944
7/8 July 1944
3 Sept 1944
  3  Ju52s
one Ju188
two V-1s
one V-1
one V-1
one Me109

4 / 0 / 1


4  V-1s

When describing how they shot down V-1s, Cotterill had this to say to an RCAF press officer:

"We used to stooge around just out from the launching area in France. We were the first line night fighter patrol. Sometimes we could see the actual launchings. A launching looks like a great half moon of brilliant explosion. Then, when the thing came up, and it could be spotted by the steady glow from the rear end, we dived down vertically at full throttle. Several kites would line up on one bomb and if the first one missed then the others would go down for a try. After our dive, we would level out and let go with a quick burst. Then, if you were too close, you’d be thrown all over the sky by the explosion, or flying debris would damage the machine. Sometimes, from a distance, we weren't always sure whether there was a doodlebug or not so we used to line up the light with a star and then, if it moved, in we went."


The remains of his Mosquito have been found in Croatia. Check it out




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