Warrant Officer Frank Mitchell COX

Service No: 403722
Born: Bondi NSW, 26 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 March 1941
Unit: No. 603 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations (No. 603 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft LX977), off the Greek Coast, 13 November 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frank Garnet Cox and Mabel Jane Cox, of Darling Point, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Column 277, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0700 hours on 13 November 1943 Beaufighter LX 977 together with 9 Beaufighters of Nos. 603 and 47 Squadron and in company with two USAAF B25 aircraft took off on an offensive sweep of Leros Island. They proceeded through the Kaso Straits and arrived in the target area at 0907 hours. The sweep was carried out with no sightings and a small amount of anti-aircraft fire. The formation passed through Kaso Straits again at 1007 hours and altered course for base. At 1025 hours LX977 reported an oil leak in the starboard engine and climbed to 2,500 feet with Beaufighter D of No. 47 Squadron detailed to escort. At 1034 hours the starboard engine cut out and the aircraft lost height to 100 feet, where the engine apparently picked up again. Warrant Officer Cox indicated he would have to ditch. The sea was rough with a wind of 25 knots. The Observer was seen to jettison his cupola hatch. LX977 ditched at 1042 hours in position 33.52N 0 25.50E. It ditched tail first, the aircraft was covered by breakers and the tail unit broke away. Warrant Officer Ferguson was seen in the water about 50 yards from the dinghy which was the right way up and inflated. He disappeared shortly after and was not seen again. Beaufighters D, G and P remained in the area until 1100 hours but saw nothing more. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded that the missing crew members had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of LX977 were:

Warrant Officer Frank Mitchell Cox (403722) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Norman Stewart Ferguson (400984) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)


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, 166/8/302

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