Personnel Index - Detail
Flew at least 42 operations during his time with 49sqn.
F/L Cooke was killed on the 28th August 1947 and is buried in the Middlesbrough Linthorpe Road Cemetery.
The following details are provided by Colin Cripps (49Sqn Researcher):
At 1500 hours on 28 August, 1947, a Dakota IV from Transport Command RAF Manston, serial KJ984, crashed killing the two people on board.
The pilot, F/Lt R.G. Cooke, was an experienced flyer having commenced flying training in October 1937.
The Navigator, F/Lt D.H. Roberts, is stated in the investigation report as having qualified in May 1953, presumably a typo for 1943.
F/Lt R.G. Cooke was authorised to brief himself, this he did and picked out his weak subjects, i.e. instrument flying, as he was due to go to Hullavington for final checks.
He took over the aircraft from the previous pilot who had just landed, who stated that the aircraft was OK and handed the pilot a strip map to wedge up over the clear vision window for instrument flying.
The Dakota took off at 1422 hours and was in radio contact with the control tower until 1500 hours, after which no further signals were received. At approximately 1600 hours the Dakota was seen to be flying over the airfield at 1500 feet with his port propeller feathered. The aircraft was climbing on one engine, flying slowly against the wind. It appeared to stall and immediately the port wing dipped and the nose went down. KJ984 spun for one and a half turns into the dead engine. At a height of about 600 feet it recovered slightly and then went into a steep dive and crashed into the earth at approximately 70° with both engines running.
There was a violent explosion and fire broke out immediately.
In the opinion of the investigator, the accident was due to an error on the part of the pilot who had stalled the aircraft whilst flying on asymmetric power. He was turning into the dead engine and unfeathered his port propeller whilst in a stalled and spinning condition. The drag that developed whilst the port propeller was windmilling made matters worse and he had insufficient height to regain control.
The precise location of the crash is given as 774/863 on the 1" sheet number 117A, Woodchurch, near Westgate-on-Sea.