November 25, 2017

1942. American Volunteer Flier Tells His Story

Flier Who Joined Up With the RAF Speaks from Hospital
"American volunteer pilots of No.121 (Eagle) Sqaudron playing poker in the dispersal hut at RAF Rochford in Essex during August 1942" (source)
With Back Broken in Three Places, Flier Has Chance to Win Argument With His Doctors
United Press Staff Correspondent

Royal Air Force Hospital, Eastern England — (UP) Alex "Scotty" Cooke, former Los Angeles movie script writer, has been arguing with the doctors for nine months about his back, which is broken in three places.

The doctors said Scotty was going to die. He said he wasn't. That went on for months. Today the doctors are a little hopeful that they may have been wrong, but they aren't too optimistic. Scotty, however, is just as determined as ever, even when he has to bite his lips to fight the pain.

Scotty, 33, is one of nineteen men who paid their own way from the United States to Great Britain to fight with the RAF and he's the only one left.

He lies between electric blankets day and night and there isn't a moment when he isn't in pain, but he says he hasn't a complaint.

"So I copped a Burton," he grinned. "So what? I've seen plenty."

Cooke became a gunner on a Wellington bomber when he made the grade with the RAF, but right now he's fighting a tougher battle than anyone he ran into on the fifty trips he made over enemy territory. His sister, Mrs. Barbara Lambert, lives in Berkeley, Calif., and Scotty says of her:

"She's been prepared for me to snuff out but I've fooled her so many times that I think I can do it again."

Cooke gets lonesome for Americans to talk with, and he told me that while he had held numerous jobs in the United States he enjoyed most the days when he worked for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a scriptwriter and dabbled in songwriting.

Talking about the nineteen men who bought their own tickets to fight the Axis, he said:

"We thought we would have a little fun, see some action and do some good before the United States came into the war. Baby, we got what we came for. Those guys came from Texas, New York, California, the Carolinas, the Middle West and all over. We knew it would be dangerous and that some of those tickets would lead straight into a German prison camp. Now I'm the only one left."