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The Airmen's Stories - Lt. (FAA) J P Coates


James Patrick Coates was born in the second quarter of 1913 in Darlington, County Durham, the son of George Henry Coates (1873-1915) and Ethel Rose Gray Coates (nee Edwards 1884-1978).

Married in 1906, GH Coates served in the reserve 9th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry and died on 25th December 1915 aged 41. He was buried in Darlington West Cemetery as a war casualty but may have died of natural causes.

JP Coates enlisted as a Naval Cadet on 19th September 1930 and was posted to HMS Erebus, a gunnery training ship. He was commissioned in the Engineer Branch in 1934. He was attached to the Fleet Air Arm on 9th October 1939.

It seems the family had a connection with South Africa as Coates is next recorded as arriving at Southampton on 13th May 1939 aboard the MV 'Dunbar Castle' with his Residence shown as 'SA'.


Above: Coates is standing third from left at the wedding of Lt. Hon David Hotham to Aileen Coateson on 11th April 1939 aboard HMS Neptune.

Image courtesy of


Coates did his elementary flying training at 24 EFTS Sydenham. On 11th December 1939 he moved to 7 FTS Peterborough on No. 7 (FAA) Course, which ended on 27th May 1940.

He joined 808 Squadron at Castletown on 11th July 1940, flying Fulmars on dockyard defence.

Coates was killed on 26th November 1940 when his Fulmar N1943, aloft on an air test, crashed astern of HMS Ark Royal in the Mediterranean.



Probate was granted to his widowed mother at Les Caches, St Martins, Guernsey.



He is commemorated on the FAA Memorial at Lee-on-Solent.









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