Alan George Seymour Cousens, Squadron Leader, RAF

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Alan George Seymour Cousens, Squadron Leader, RAF

Birthdate: (30)
Birthplace: Nr. Kingston, Middlesex, England
Death: April 22, 1944 (30)
France (WWII Air Casualty - plane shot down over northern France)
Place of Burial: Roye, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Gordon Bryce Seymour Cousens, Major, M.C. and Dorothy Meyer
Husband of Nancy (Nan) Phyllis Forbes
Father of Michael A. S. Cousens
Brother of Henry A. C. Cousens and Gordon Bryce Francis Cousens, OBE, DSO, DFC, Chevalier de la Couronne
Half brother of Marion Barbara Dorothy Cousens; George Edward Heatley Cousens; Colin Arthur Middleton Cousens and Private

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About Alan George Seymour Cousens, Squadron Leader, RAF

7 October 1913 - birth of Alan Gordon Seymour Cousens

(source: 1913 REGISTRATION OCT-DEC QUARTER ENGLAND AND WALES FREE BMD BIRTH INDEX, 1837-1915 Vol2a,Page 907) Name: Alan G S Cousens Mother's Maiden Name Sparks District Kingston County Surrey, UK

Alan's father Gordon secured the position of Secretary with the British Delegation in Tientsin, Republic of China c.1920. He and wife, Dorothy (nee Sparks) decided to place the older twin boys in boarding school in England, but took Alan with them, since he was around 6 at the time. Returned to England from Shanghai, China, in August 1922.

(Source: incoming passenger lists,Citation: class: BT26; Piece: 721; Item: 4 )

  • Name: Alan G S Cousens (father) Gordon (mother) Dorothy
  • Age: 8 1/2 37 36
  • Occupation: Secretary (British Delegation)
  • Port of Departure: Shanghai, China
  • Proposed Address:Winnington Rectory, Rainham, Essex, UK
  • Arrival Date:23-Aug-1922 Port of Arrival: London
  • Travelled 1st Class
  • Ship Name: Pyrrhus, Ocean Steamship Company
  • Official Number: 137410

Parents separated and divorced.

Mother Dorothy with her 3 sons departed by ship for Capetown, with a destination of S Rhodesia.

Cousin Maurice Tugwell (11 years younger than Alan) writes: "Alan was the youngest of three brothers. Alan joined the RAF at the 'bottom rung' but overcame all disadvantages. He never became a pilot, but was a Captain [* actually a Squadron Leader], commanding squadrons on operations until shot down and killed. He was my Mother's (Mysie) favorite and I remember clearly his visits to our family in Bedford."

Service and Postings (Source Babs Cousens Duncan):

1930 9 Sep: No. 4 Wing - enlisted as No 564836 - Aircraft Apprentice

1931, 7-16 Jan: Hospitalized

1932, 26 Jan: Leading Aircraft Apprentice

1933, 12-26 Jan: Hospitalized

1935, 18 Aug: Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment

1936, 6 March Singapore

1936, 1 Nov Station HQ Seletar

1938, 5 Dec Home Establishment

1939, 2 Jan No. 1 Artillery Observer School

1939, 1 Feb Corporal

1939, 28 July No. 38 Bomber Squadron, Marham (Blenheim Squadron - first raids of World War II attacking German fleet at Wilhelmshaven (German town on Baltic Sea). Heavy losses

1939 April - Gallantry over Czechoslovakia (see 1942 below) - received Czech Military Cross

1940, 27 Jan Confirmation of rank of Sergeant

1940, 3 July Discharged to Commission

1940, 12 Aug Station Marham

The following citation (found in Air/9578) was drafted when he had flown 39 sorties (238 operational hours):

"Three of Squadron Leader Cousens' flights were to Berlin, and when returning from one of these operations, one night in February 1940, fog compelled him to abandon the aircraft by parachute. In so doing he broke his ankle.'

"Since he was selected in June 1941 as Group Navigation Officer, he has set an admirable example by taking every opportunity to engage in night operations. His skill as a navigator and total disregard for his own safety have been quite outstanding. His flights have been mostly against heavily defended targets in Germany."

1941, 17 Jun HQ No. 3 Group - Group Navigation Officer

1942 10 Apr

No. 115 Squadron - Gallantry Awards: Czech War Cross of 1939

awarded as per London Gazette dated 14 April 1942.

COUSENS, Alan George Seymour, S/L, DFC (44076) [Source: RAF Forum online: AND Forces War Records]

Award Details: Award received from Czechoslovakia during Second World War. Gazette Date: 14/04/1942 Gazette Page: 1646 Service Number: 44076

1942 16 Dec No. 8 Group

1943 18 Jan HQ Bomber Command

Unknown date RAF Staff College 1943 23 Aug HQ No. 8 Group

1944 20 Mar No. 635 Squadron

  • Nationality: United Kingdom
  • Rank: Wing Commander (Nav.)
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
  • Unit Text: 635 Sqdn PFF
  • Age: 30
  • Date of Death: 22 or 23/04/1944 - Lancaster ND508 635 Squadron, during Mission to Laon (capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France) T/O 2123 from Downham Market (UK airfield) carrying one of the assigned Master Bombers. Details on cause of loss supplied to his mother by the navigator who survived and came to visit her - see details below*

Awards: Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.), Distinguished Flying Cross, Military Cross (Czechoslovakia). Source: London Gazette, 30 Jan, 14 Apr, 6 Nov 1942

Son of Gordon Bryce Seymour Cousens and Dorothy Cousens;

husband of Nan Phyllis Cousens, of Kensington, London.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot 2. Row AB. Grave 10.


Also: "ORAFs - Old Rhodesian Air Force Sods by Eddy Norris"

London Gazette dated 30 January 1942

"COUSENS, S/L Alan George Seymour (44076) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.3 Group Headquarters - awarded as per London Gazette dated 30 January 1942. Public Record Office Air 2/9578 states that his date and place of birth not available, but his father, Lieutenant-Colonel G.B.S. Cousens, MC, was living in Georgetown, Alberta. Curiously, Squadron Leader Cousens is not listed in any documents recording CAN/RAF personnel.

It is thought that Alan's name is recorded at the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, Coopers Hill, UK.

Bomber Command Memorial to No. 8 Group at Ely Cathedral, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. The Memorial is a stained-glass window with four lights/panels installed on the north side of the nave.

No.8 Group Duplicate Book of Remembrance is permanently on view at The Pathfinder Association, London at 115 Mount Street, Berkeley Square, London.

Daily Telegraph July 27 1944 Announcement: "On Active Service. Cousens - Previously reported missing from operations, now known to have lost his life April 1944....."

  • Details about Alan supplied to Alan's mother, Dorothy. She wrote about this from her home in Cheam, Surrey, on 24 October 1944 in a letter to Marion Cousens, her former mother-in-law (source: Album of Babs Duncan): "The pilot of Alan's plane, Fl/Lieut. Courtenay, arrived back in England after 5 mths. He is the 'only' survivor - he wrote me such a nice letter and said might he come and see me - he was coming to Wells but was pushed into a hospital after a medical (physical) - and he wired me Friday to ask if he could come Sat afternoon - he was here for hours - very young and nice looking - very shy and he seemed very nervous. He could tell me little really. He said that night (April 22) was a confused nightmare to him. He said they had done the job and Alan given orders for them all to return home and had got several miles away from target and were easing up a bit when there was a terrific noise - the next thing he knew he was hurtling through the air and saw plane falling below him - he just had presence of mind to release his parachute before he became unconscious. The next thing he knew he was in bed in cellar of a French house."
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Alan George Seymour Cousens, Squadron Leader, RAF's Timeline

October 7, 1913
Nr. Kingston, Middlesex, England
April 22, 1944
Age 30
Roye, France