William Turner Coles

Photo 1917


1893 Feb 25. Born London. Son of William Reynard Escombe Coles (note he was not baptised till 1910

1901 census Living in a Boarding House in Cumberland with his mother

1911 census Living at Rose Cottage, Bassenthwaite, Cumberland

1915 Apr 23 Commissioned 2nd Lt. 3rd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Temporary Second Lieutenant William Turner Coles, from l0th (Service) Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment, to be Second Lieutenant (on probation). Dated 23rd April, 1915

1916 Jul 5. RAF Commission


1916 Aviators Cert

1917 Jun 7. flying a SE5 (A.8922) he reported:

‘On patrol I came down to about 2,000 feet and fired on the trenches East of the Oostaverne line. Just before the patrol was over I lost the SE.5 formation amongst the clouds, which were pretty thick between 3,000 and 10,000 feet. Whilst looking for SE.5 formation I came on four two seater E.A. about 2,000 feet below me; I was then about 5,000 feet. My Vickers jamed. I dived on the first E.A., which was coming straight towards me, firing about one drum (from his Lewis gun). E.A. then went down in a pretty steep dive. The other three E.A. went straight on into the clouds. This was over Gheluvelt.’

1917 Jun 14. , flying a SE.5 (A.8922) he reported:

‘When on patrol at 15,000 feet between Ypres and Menin I saw our Anti-Aircraft bursting over Armentiers, and saw a two-seater E.A. at 15,000 feet. I followed Capt. Bowman towards E.A. The E.A. put his nose down and Capt. Bowman dived after it. I then saw another E.A. just below to my left at 9,000 feet, and dived firing about forty rounds at 100 yards range at E.A., who went down in a steep dive North of Quesnoy, seemingly O.K.’

1917 Jun 17. Taken POW. Lt W Turner-Coles (Pow), 56 Sqn, SE5 A8922 – took off 08:00/09:00 and last seen engaged with EA over Haubourin on offensive patrol 08:45/09:45; Ltn d R Max Pollandt, Ja6, 1st victory [Beaucamps - west of Lille at 08:55/09:55]

his patrol was attacked by 18-20 enemy aircraft and Coles was shot down by German ace Fritz Krebs of Jasta 6. (or Hans Pollandt ) The casualty report reads, ‘Pilot left aerodrome 8 a.m. to go on patrol & was last seen engaged with E.A. over Hanbourin, fate unknown.’ No. 56 Squadron lost two men that day - Lieutenants Coles and Spearpoint - both became prisoners-of-war. Coles was repatriated to England on 30 December 1918.

1918 Dec 30 Repatriated POW

1919 Sep 22. Relinquished RAF commission and returned to Army

1920 Jun 13. Speeding fine in Selsey, Sussex

1920 Jun 25 Special Appoinment Class II (with CMC Dowling)

1921 Jan A large number of the Secret Service Special Appointment men were on a raid . I assume that this list should not have been included in the archives.

P Attwood, RD Jeune, W Turner-Coles, EEJ Shiner, PA Mules, V de Sarigny, RH Leigh Bennett, GT Sugden, RM Debney



1925 Dec 15 Married in London to Rose Sophia Bles

1928 Nov. A legal action against him for assault by a Miss Gwyneth Mannering who claimed that Turner Coles had promised to marry her. The jury found for Turner Coles

1931 Jan 13. Divorce Absolute from wife R S Turner Coles

1934 Sep 6. Married in Juarez, Chihuahua, México (Mexico) Spouse: Ruby Aldo Nadi

1934 Travels from Shanghai to USA with wife Althea Ruby Aldo Nadi , she is Italian

1935 Oct. 3 envelope from Santa Monica, California to Captain William Turner-Coles in Shanghai (22.10) redirected to Singapore (4.11, with American Express receiving d.s.), then to Addis Ababa, Abyssinia via Aden (20.11) but held up in French Somali Coast (31.12) due to closure of the inland mail route caused by the Italian-Abyssinian War, bearing U.S. 1c. pair and 3c., cancelled by duplex, with original handwritten letter from Turner-Coles who had an illustrious career with the R.A.F. in WWI, where his plane was shot down and he was taken prisoner, coincidentally being re-united with his German captor in Shanghai years later.

1937 Married Evelyn J Mancini in Westminster

1939 Dec 10. The undermentioned to be Lts. : — Lt. William TURNER-COLES (111023), Oxf. & Bucks. L.I.

1940 May 29. Oxf. & Bucks. L.I. ' ' Lt. W. Turner-Coles (111023), from Gen. List, to be Lt., and to retain his present seniority

1947 May 23. Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm. Lieutenant-Colonel (temporary) William TURNER- COLES (111023), The Oxfordshire .and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

As a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in the regiment, he was awarded the U.S.A. Medal of Freedom, with Bronze Palm (London Gazette 23 May 1947) ‘for exceptionally meritorious services in Italy from September 1943 to May 1945.’ Lieutenant (War Substantive Major) Turner-Coles relinquished his commission on 21 December 1949 and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

1947 leaves UK for USA. His wife is Mrs EJ Turner Coles of Great Neck NY.

1950 May 14. Leaves New York on BOAC aircraft for London. Travels alone on UK passport

1952 Nov 21. Travels from Genoa to New York with wife Evelyn J. Both on British Passports

1969 Oct, Died in New York. William Turner Coles SSN: 052-30-5946 Last Residence: 13459 Sharon Springs, Schoharie, New York, USA BORN: 25 Feb 1893 Died: Oct 1969

Intelligence Dublin Castle