Pilot Officer Maxwell Tylney COTTON DFC

Service No: 408204
Born: Swansea TAS, 2 May 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 April 1941
Unit: No. 263 Squadron (RAF)
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Died: Air Operations (No. 263 Squadron Whirlwind aircraft F7000), off the French Coast, 15 June 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Tylney Cotton and Louisa Kate Cotton, of Swansea, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Swansea TAS
Remembered: Panel 190, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFC Citation: Pilot Officer Cotton of No. 263 Squadron (since missing) has taken part in numerous and varied operational missions some of which have been completed at night. His sorties have included bombing attacks on enemy airfields, on railway objectives and against shipping in convoy. On three occasions his aircraft has been seriously damaged by anti-aircraft fire but he did not fail to fly back to this country and land safely. Pilot Officer Cotton has displayed a complete disregard of intense enemy opposition and has at all times pressed home his attacks with the greatest determination.

At 1543 hours on 15 June 1943 Pilot Officer Cotton was leading the second section of four Whirlwinds which took off from Warmwell for an armed shipping reconnaissance in the Channel Island area. It was escorted by 8 Spitfires of No. 504 Squadron and preceded by 8 Spitfires of No. 616 Squadron. A convoy of four ‘M’ minesweepers and one armed trawler was sighted about four miles north-east of Sark, steaming north-east. The four minesweepers were hotly engaged in a series of excellent attacks by No. 616 Squadron, but the flak from the enemy ships was extremely intense and accurate, and one Spitfire was shot down. The Whirwind sections each bombed a minesweeper from below mast height from the west. Pilot Officer Cotton’s bomb splashes were seen amidships then his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. It was seen as a ball of fire and disintegrated as it hit the water at full speed about 100 yards on the east side of the minesweeper. This was seen by 3 pilots of the formation and they considered that Pilot Officer Cotton could not have survived.


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, 166/8/133