Flying Officer Rolla Maxwell COOKE

Service No: 402316
Born: Sydney NSW, 20 November 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 August 1940
Unit: No. 145 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Catterick
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 145 Squadron Spitfire aircraft P7624), Catterick, 4 November 1941, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Catterick Cemetery, Yorkshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Lionel Ernest and Ellen Beulah Perry Cooke, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; husband of Betty Mosman Cooke, of Artarmon, New South Wales. B.Ec. (Sydney)
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: St Clements World War 2 Roll of Honour, Mosman NSW
Remembered: University of Sydney World War 2 Roll of Honour, Camperdown NSW

At 1530 hours on 4 November 1941 Spitfire P7624 flown by Flying Officer Cooke crashed at Catterick Aerodrome and he was killed.

A subsequent Report on the Flying Accident stated: “the starboard undercarriage was not fully retracted at the time of the accident. It was found broken away from the mainplane after the crash. The port undercarriage leg had fully retracted and locked. This shows the ‘selector’ lever must have been in the ‘up’ position. The hydraulic pump was removed from the engine. Extensive wear on the drive shaft splines. Pump run on undercarriage at reg. And found satisfactory. Driving sleeve fractured but still capable of of transmitting drive.” Remarks by the Unit Commander were: “Lack of flying discipline. The pilot attempted to carry out aerobatics in the aerodrome circuit at 400 feet at too low a speed. Cause of Accident was found to be the starboard leg of this aircraft’s undercarriage was only partly retracted and this, added to the low speed at which the aerobatics were started caused the pilot to lose control.” General remarks: “a good pilot who was inclined at time to carry out some reckless flying. All pilots had been warned against this type of flying and by both Flying Commanders two days before this accident.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/26/157
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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