An Evocative RAF Log Book to a Canadian - Air Victories
The original wartime Flying Log Book appertaining to Flying Officer W. E. Copp, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, late Royal Canadian Air Force, who witnessed extensive action as a fighter pilot over Malta 1941-42, claiming at least two confirmed victories, comprising Royal Air Force (Form 414) Pilot’s Flying Log Book, commencing with entries as a student pilot at Hamilton Aero Club, Ontario in September 1939 and ending with entries as an instructor at Bagotville, Quebec in October 1942, with extensive operational entries and commentary for his period of service in Malta in between, together with several pasted-down photographs, in all a detailed and evocative record of a gallant fighter pilot who fought in the defence of the “George Cross Island”, generally in excellent condition. Footnote: William Edwin Copp was born in Toronto, Canada in November 1914 and, having passed a medical in September 1938, was called up by the Royal Canadian Air Force on the outbreak of hostilities. Selected for pilot training, he was posted to Hamilton Aero Club, and thence to the U.K., where he attended further training courses before joining No. 57 O.T.U. at Hawarden and converting to Spitfires. Subsequently joining No. 266 Squadron at Wittering in early 1941, he completed around half-a-dozen operational sorties before being embarked in Ark Royal for Malta that May, at which point he joined No. 46 Squadron, a Hurricane unit, at Halfar, and quickly saw action, being scrambled on numerous occasions before the month’s end. On 23 June 1941, Copp engaged an MC200 at 10,000 feet, getting multiple hits from dead astern, the starboard beam and, as the Italian aircraft pulled up, in the cockpit - it fell ‘like a plummet, apparently out of control’. A few days later, on the 27th, he was scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft approaching Grand Harbour, and claimed one MC200 as a probable and another confirmed, the latter’s pilot baling out - but his parachute failing to open. Transferring to No. 126 Squadron at Takali in July, Copp participated in another dozen or so sorties in the same month, a similar hectic operational agenda ensuing until he was hospitalised after being wounded and baling out on 27 December - ‘Shot down by 109F- baled out. Blinded by Glycol and received shrapnel wounds in leg from exp. cannon shell in cockpit’ . In the interim, however, he had damaged a Macchi on 22 November and, according to his Flying Log Book, got a confirmed Ju. 88 on 24 December. Returning to his unit in February 1942, he was quickly back in action, sharing in a Junkers of KG/806, which crash-landed at Catania, Sicily, on the 11th, in addition to completing a busy agenda of other sorties up until the end of March, when he was flown to Egypt for a period of rest. Subsequently embarked for Canada, where he took up duties as an instructor, Copp was killed in a flying accident on 4 November 1942.