Friday, January 25, 2008

Fullbore Friday

Fleet Reserve? IRR? Do you really understand the responsibilities of a "Retired Officer" is?

What more can you say? This is from
Time in 1944. Yes, 1944.
In 1893, when Adolf Hitler was four, 17-year-old Lionel Cohen, son of a Newcastle shipping merchant, was fighting his first campaign, with British forces against the Matabele tribe in South Africa.

Then Cohen tried gold mining, fought again, in the Boer War, turned to ranching and later worked as a reporter for the Rand Daily Mail. In World War I Cohen was at it again, this time as an intelligence officer with the South Africa Light Horse. He served in the East Africa operations, won the Military Cross and D.S.O. After that Cohen moved to London, became a stockbroker and raised dairy cattle.

When Britain went to war again, in 1939, Lionel Cohen was qualified as an observer with the R.A.F.V.R., was assigned as Air Liaison Officer with the Navy. Now 68, Wing Commander Cohen is the R.A.F.'s oldest flying officer. He has made 45 operational flights, totaling 500 air hours. Last week he got another ribbon, added another item to his record: he is the oldest recipient of the coveted, candy-striped Distinguished Flying Cross.
So, tell me again how much you have served your country? A great opportunity for you, thanks to reader Steve, we have Wg Cdr Cohen's own voice in a FEB 1944 interview. Amazing, at a time when many volunteers "of age" are doing desk jobs, look at what he did. RAF Coastal Command Liaison Officer with the Admiralty, volunteering to take part in 70 operational flights as Observer and Air Gunner (always carrying his lucky gold sovreign with him!), in over 500 hours flying in the Atlantic (convoy escorts); Iceland (ice reconnaissance – where on one Liberator sortie, when the heating failed, he insisted on doing his stint in the turret round Bear Island, and on landing at Reykjavik, it took two crew members to prise him out of his seat!) [11]; North Africa and Spain (anti-submarine patrol), Bay of Biscay (light aircraft patrol) and over North West Europe, including a stint with the RAAF (Australians). Promoted Wing Commander, he took part in the attacks on the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau over the port of Brest on April 23rd 1941. In the same year, during a shipping attack off Norway, his aircraft was chased by three Me 110's and a Ju 88 and on another occasion, his Sunderland aircraft took part in a 4 strike attack on U Boat over the Atlantic, and claimed it sunk. Over the North Sea on May 19th 1942 he was wounded in the head by anti-aircraft fire in the attack on the German pocket battleship 'Lutzov'. [12] His longest patrol was in a Catalina – 21.5 hours over the Atlantic in July 1941. His penultimate sortie in a Halifax , hit by flak, resulted in a crash landing from which he walked away unscathed.
Fullbore Wg Cdr Cohen; wish I had a picture, but your story is more than enough.

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