David Reginald Cottle was born on 4th July 1934 in Coventry, and was "bombed out" of their house in 1940 when a Landmine landed at the front gate but failed to explode ! He turned 18 in 1952, and was therefore required to do his National Service. David chose to sign up for 3 years (rather than the normal 2), which gave him the option of choosing a service arm and role. David chose the RAF as an Airframe fitter. His service started with 6 weeks of "square bashing" and technical training, in Cardington Bedfordshire, West Kirby near Liverpool, and St Athan. At the end of this period he was scheduled to go to Singapore, but only when he was on the ferry to Belfast did he realise he was going to Aldergrove. As an Airframe fitter he not only serviced the station's own aircraft which included Mosquito TA639, but also a wide range of visiting aircraft . In the Autumn of 1952 he applied to become a "semi aircrew" member of Station Flight, and began flying with Joe Radwanski, a Polish pilot who had fought in the war with the RAF, and stayed on rather than return to Poland. The Mosquito towed a drogue which was used as a target by jet fighters and Shackletons using live ammunition, over the Irish sea. His main role on the flight was to release the drogue when over the airfield before landing. The semi aircrew role was in addition to his airframe fitter duties. David flew in Mosquito T639 from late 1952 until 1955.
Joe always left it til the last minute