Operation AUTOGYRO A
Roger Cottin was dropped three nights later by F/Lt Jackson and his crew. Cottin was dropped to set up his own organisation, but eventually became No. 2 to Pierre de Vomecourt. (One oddity: MRD Foot indicates that Cottin met Pierre de Vomecourt in Paris later, and only then was ‘swept up’ into AUTOGYRO; yet the operation name indicates that Cottin was dropped already linked to AUTOGYRO. Nevertheless, Begue did not mention this drop in his report; it was clearly ‘blind’.)
Jackson’s report gives no indication of the location of his target. He does say that a low, late-rising moon on the wane, partially obscured by thin cloud, made it difficult to identify a crucial turning point, then the target itself. Cottin was dropped, and they saw that his canopy was in a tree. They made another circuit, and believed he had made a safe landing. They later realised that Cottin had been dropped in a spot visually similar to the target, but about 6 – 8 miles distant.
Jackson’s report omits the presence aboard of a new 1419 Flight pilot, Sgt John Austin, for operational experience. He is already an experienced Whitey pilot, having already flown a bomber tour with No 51 Squadron.
TNA AIR20/8334, Encl. 14A.
Logbook, S/Ldr J.B. Austin, DFC*