An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Alfred William ATTERTON

No. 182784 Sergeant/Acting Pilot Officer (Navigator),
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve;
No. 138 (Special Duties) Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Died 9 August 1944, aged 32 years.

Buried in Lusigny-sur-Barse Communal Cemetery, Aube,
France, Collective Grave 22.

No. 138 (Special Duties) Squadron, stationed in 1944 at RAF Tempsford in Bedfordshire, provided secret air support to the Special Operations Executive (SOE), dropping agents and supplies of arms and explosives into the countries of enemy-occupied Europe for sabotage operations.

Pilot Officer Atterton and five other members of the seven-man crew of their aircraft, a Handley Page Halifax bomber, code-sign NF-Q, were killed when it crashed near the village of Geraudot (Aube) in eastern France whilst performing such a mission. They are buried together in the civilian cemetery of the nearby small town of Lusigny-sur-Barse. (The remaining crew member, a New Zealander, managed to bail out of the aircraft and parachute to earth, and, having evaded capture with the help of the French Underground, miraculously made it back to England).

Alfred William Atterton was born on 15 February 1912, the son of Robert Thomas Atterton and Ethel Maud Atterton. He first attended West Dyke Council School before, in September 1921, aged nine, he entered Coatham Grammar School, where he joined School House. On Sports Day 1926 he came second in both the under-15 half-mile and mile races, running against Coulthard (q.v.). At the time of his father’s death in 1935 his parents lived in Westbourne Grove, Redcar, and he, like his father, was a laundry manager. By the time of his war service he was married. His widow Lillian lived in Redcar at the time of his death. He was first listed on the School’s Roll of Honour in December 1945.