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Remembering World War II
Name: George Demetrius Coe (Kegereko) Service No: R/109811 Rank: Warrant Officer Class II (Wireless Operator & Air Gunner) Service: Royal Canadian Air Force Date of Birth: April 17, 1919 Place of Birth: Glace Bay, Cape Breton, NS Date of Enlistment: July 7, 1941 Place of Enlistment: Windsor, Ontario Address at Enlistment: Windsor, Ontario Age at Enlistment: 22 Trade at Enlistment: Clerk Religion: Anglican Marital Status: Married Next of Kin: Gladys Amy Coe, [Wife] Windsor, Ontario Date of Death: June 22, 1943 Age at Death: 24 Cemetery: Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Netherlands Grave Reference: 11. I. 7. Commemorated on Page 147 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Display in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on March 28 George Demetrius Coe was the son of John Emmanuel (1855-1940) and Annie Isabel (Lloyd) Coe (1887-1964) and husband of Gladys May Coe (1920-1963), of Windsor, Ontario. George’s father John was from the Greek island of Crete and emigrated from Athens to Canada (the family’s actual surname was Kegereko). George’s mother was from Liverpool, England. George married Gladys May Johnson August 27, 1938 in Windsor, Ontario. He indicated on his marriage certificate he was working as a messenger at the time. Their son George Stewart Coe was born March 28, 1939. At enlistment George Demetrius indicated that he had served as a drummer with the Boys Brigade for 11 years and was a “Lieutenant and well-acquainted with military drills”. He listed hockey, baseball, football and swimming as sports he enjoyed. He was working for CPR Communications doing clerical work in Windsor, Ontario from May of 1937 until he enlisted. He wrote on his application, “I figure that even if I am only a 5 feet 5 inches fellow, there will be more room for me in the gunner’s position in the plane. I also love democracy.” George Demetrius trained at the Bombing and Gunnery School in Jarvis, Ontario earning his Air Gunnery Badge April 10 and completing his training May 12, 1942. He disembarked in the UK June 11, 1942. On August 25, 1942 he transferred to Operational Training Unit 23. During his training with 23 OTU, his Wing Commander wrote that Coe was, “A hardworking operator when on duty in the air […], Very responsible and dependable quick in action and mentally alert”. He then joined 429 Squadron November 10, 1942. On the evening of March 12th / morning of 13th, 1943, the crew of Wellington MS487 were undertaking an operational flight to bomb Essen when it was slightly damaged by flak over the target, the crew brought the aircraft safely back to the UK and landed at base of East Moor at a minute past midnight. The crew were as follows: Pilot – Pilot Officer George Henri de Bussac RCAF (J/17554), of Lydden, Saskatchewan Navigator – Flying Officer Malcolm Burgess Spence RCAF (J/17487), of Toronto, Ontario Bomb Aimer - Flying Officer William Arthur Follows RCAF (J/12302), of Toronto, Ontario Wireless Operator - Sergeant George Demetrius Coe RCAF Air Gunner – Sergeant David Edwin Palmatier RCAF (R/116471), of Winnipeg, Manitoba Three months later, on June 22, 1943, all of the above were killed when Wellington HZ517 failed to return from Ops to Krefeld. The aircraft was shot down by a night-fighter over Holland with the loss of the whole crew and all are buried in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Holland. 429 Squadron lost four aircraft on that night with seventeen aircrew killed.
George Demetrius Coe
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