The Coughlan Stones

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.

Recent posts

Rex Wheeldon & Roy Gould

I am Roy Gould’s godson. He and my father, Rex Wheeldon, grew up together in Clacton between the wars and remained best friends until they died within a few months of each other in 2011 or 2012. Living some 150 miles apart, they had not seen each other for some time. Three model-aircraft-mad friends, the […]



Eric caught the flying ‘Bug’ aged 10 in a Fox Moth over Cleethorpes.  At 18, in the ATC, he had his first flying experience in the rear turret of a Lancaster.  From there, at the RAF recruiting office, he was accepted for pilot training and in 1943 gained his ‘Wings’ in Canada.   Eventually he found […]


John Arthur Richards

John was born on the 26th June 1922 in Subiaco, a suburb of Perth. He joined the RAAF in 1941 and began training as a fighter pilot. When posted to England, to continue his training, he was told immediately that he would be needed to fly bombers. Reluctantly he accepted this posting after saying, in […]