F/O Maurice Claude Coughlan – 658172 (Known as ‘Mike’)
1938 Territorial Army
1939 Call up, Royal Engineers
1941 Transfer to RAF
My Father commenced training to be a pilot in December 1941, as part of the ‘Arnold Scheme’, in Canada (Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario) and the USA (Georgia). He continued his training as a bomb aimer and navigator throughout August and September 1942.
My Father completed his overseas training and returned to the UK in 1943. One of his UK training bases was RAF Tilstock, Whitchurch, where he met his future wife, WAAF Doreen Audley. There he also teamed up with Pilot F/S Julian Rabchak (‘Red’). This partnership endured throughout their training and operational missions.
Between February 1944 and June 1944, as part of 103 Squadron based at RAF Elsham Wolds, this crew flew and survived 30 successful missions over Germany and France. My Father was demobbed in 1946 and married Doreen in 1947.
My parents had 2 children and 4 grandchildren. My Father did not talk about the war and much of what we know was discovered after he died in 1979 at the age of 62.
LACW Doreen Audley – 484116
My mother was an only child raised in the Wirral. She enrolled in the WAAF in 1943 at the age of 21 as an Administration Clerk in Payrolls. She was stationed at RAF Tilstock where she met F/O Mike Coughlan her future husband. She subsequently served over 2 years between 1944 and 1946 in Egypt based just outside Cairo at RAF Heliopolis. She shared a tent in the sand with another WAAF and had to check daily her shoes and bedding for scorpions. I believe that she was also at RAF Turah III MU where she told us that they used limestone caves for storage that had been used to quarry the pyramids.
Whilst in Egypt she was able to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Beirut, Luxor, The Valley of The Kings, Aswan and the beach at Alexandria. She returned by ship to the UK in 1947.
My Mother, who had 2 children and 4 grandchildren, died in 2015 aged 93, at which time she was a great grandmother twice over.