Tag Archives: Western Road School

Pilot Officer Kenneth Laurence Pile D.F.M.

P.O. Ken Pile, from Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th October, 1944.

Kenneth Laurence PILE, was born in the last three months of 1922. His father was School Keeper at Western Road School and lived in the School House up to his death in 1939. Ken Pile’s mother then moved to Eldertree Place.

Ken Pile served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (R.A.F.V.R.) and, as Flight Engineer, having flown 23 sorties with 166 Squadron, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 15th September 1944.

He died on 11th March 1945 on a training flight with 156 Squadron, when his Lancaster III crashed about one mile from Molesworth airfield in Northamptonshire. All onboard were killed. His remains are buried at the London Road Cemetery, Mitcham.

Source : www.156squadron.com.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th October, 1944:

Two Mitcham pilot officer brothers of the R.A.F. are in the news this week through the award to one of them of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

He is Pilot Officer Kenneth Laurence Pile, aged 22, eldest son of Mrs E.C. Pile, Eldertree-place, Grove-road, Mitcham, who has completed his full number of “ops”, most of them over Germany.

His brother Eric, who is two years his junior, trained in Southern Rhodesia, and is now in Italy.

Both were educated at Western-road Central School, where their father, the W.A. Pile was school keeper from the opening day until his death. Mr Pile served through the last war.

P.O. Ken Pile continued his education at Wimbledon Technical Institute. He was a Flight Engineer with the R.A.F.V.R., with a rank of Flight Sergeant, when his gallantry was officially recognised by the award. it is not yet known why he was decorated.

Both brothers are keen sportsmen.

The DFM award is described in the Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards from FindMyPast.com

PILE, Kenneth Laurence.
1456141 Sergeant, No. 166 Sqn.

L.G. 19/9/1944. Sorties 23, Flying hours 150. Flight Engineer. Air2/9276.

This N.C.O. as Flight Engineer has completed 23 sorties against the enemy including the most heavily defended targets in Germany and occupied territory. He has displayed skill of a high degree at his work and has been undeterred by any opposition the enemy has offered. He has proved himself to be a worthy member of a gallant crew and has, when flying with a different crew, inspired them to the same spirit and devotion to duty and crew discipline as he possesses himself. To the experienced crews with whom he has flown, his mature knowledge has been of the greatest assistance. For his coolness under Fire and high sense of duty, he is recommended for
the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

From the Commonwealth War Grave Commission

Flying Officer (Flight Engineer)
PILE, KENNETH LAURENCE

Service Number 183091

Died 11/03/1945

Aged 22

156 Sqdn.
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

D F M

Son of William Alfred and Ellen Charlotte Pile, of Mitcham.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 23rd March 1945

KILLED IN AN ACCIDENT
Pilot Officer K. L. Pile, D.F.M.

Pilot Officer Kenneth Pile (aged 22), elder son of Mrs. E. C. Pile, Eldertree-place, Grove-road, Mitcham, who won the D.F.M. last autumn, has been killed in a flying accident. He was buried with full honours at London-road Cemetery on Monday.

P.O. Pile completed his full tour of “ops,” most of them over Germany, last summer, and had since been engaged on training flights.

His brother, Eric, who is two years his junior, trained in Southern Rhodesia, and is also a pilot officer. Both were educated at Western-road Central School, where their father, the late Mr. W. A. Pile, was school-keeper from the opening day until his death. Mr. Pile served through the last war.

P.O. Ken Pile continued his education at Wimbledon Technical Institute. He was a flight engineer with the R.A.F.V.R. with the rank of flight-sergeant when his gallantry was officially recognised. He was a keen sportsman.

Private Roy Coates

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 1st September, 1944, page 1:

Lost Hand in saving his friend

Mitcham Man’s Gallantry

Immediate award of M.M.

Pte. Roy Coates, of the Rifle Brigade, eldest son of Mr and Mrs S. Coates, of Poplar Avenue, Mitcham, was fighting on an Italian battlefield when his friend fell near him wounded in both legs.

Instead of seeking safety Pte. Coates advanced through heavy fire, picked up his injured comrade and carried him back to our own lines.

His gallant action cost him his left hand. It’s also resulted in his being recommended for the immediate award of the military medal.

In a letter to his parents, Pte. Coates, who is in a military hospital in Scotland, says that his real reward is that his friend is recovering. “He is very grateful to me for what I did. You know my ideas on glory; the sooner it is forgotten, the better,” he writes.

Pte. Coates is 21 and a six footer. He was educated at Western-road School, Mitcham, and afterwards worked at Wimbledon Co-operative Stores and at Mitcham Works.

From Recommendations for military honours and awards 1935-1990. The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England. Series WO 373.

Name: Roy Coates
Publication Date: 7 Dec 1944
Rank: Rifleman
Service Number: 6924070
Regiment or Unit: 7 Battalion The Rifle Brigade
Theatre of Combat or Operation: Italy
Award: Military Medal
Date of Action or Award: 1944