39 (1 PRU) Squadron


A Canberra T4 crashed on the runway at RAF Marham at about 2230 on 2 September during a routine training flight. Both of the pilots were killed - the third crewmember, the navigator, was seriously injured and was airlifted to hospital.


Flight Lieutenants Paul Gareth Morris

Flight Lieutenants Paul Gareth Morris


The two pilots killed were Flight Lieutenants Paul Gareth Morris and Lawrence William John Coulton, both of 39 (1 PRU) Squadron. Flt Lt Morris was aged 38, and came from Doncaster. He joined the Royal Air Force on 17 January 1985 and, after Initial Officer Training at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, undertook Basic Flying Training at Royal Air Force Church Fenton and Royal Air Force Finningley where he flew the Jet Provost and Jetstream aircraft respectively. On completion of Flying Training he was posted to fly VC-10 aircraft at Royal Air Force Brize Norton and joined No. 10 Squadron flying in the Air Transport and Air-to-Air Re-fuelling roles. In 1990, Flight Lieutenant Morris was selected for training as a Qualified Flying Instructor and after completion of a further intensive flying course became an instructor on the Jet Provost at No. 1 Flying Training School, Royal Air Force Linton-on-Ouse. A ground tour at Headquarters Strike Command, High Wycombe, followed before another tour of duty on No. 10 Squadron, Royal Air Force Brize Norton. Finally, in January 2002, Flight Lieutenant Morris was posted to fly the Canberra T4 and PR9 aircraft on No. 39 (1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit) Squadron at Royal Air Force Marham. Flight Lieutenant Morris joined the Squadron at its busiest time for many years and was at the forefront of recent Squadron operations over both Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of Operations Telic and Veritas, where his calm, professional approach ensured maximum success was derived from each mission. A keen aviator even in his spare time, Flt Lt Morris was a regular on the air show circuit where he displayed vintage aircraft to best effect. Flight Lieutenant Morris was single but leaves a teenage son.


Flight-Lieutenant-Coulton

Flight-Lieutenant-Coulton

Flt Lt ‘Flo’ Coulton was aged 40 and came from London. He joined the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1985 and was initially a University Air Cadet with Birmingham University Air Squadron, flying the Bulldog. After Initial Officer Training at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, he undertook Basic Flying Training at Royal Air Force Cranwell, where he flew the Jet Provost. Advanced Flying Training, at both Royal Air Force Valley and Royal Air Force Chivenor, on the Hawk followed and on completion of Flying Training he was posted to fly Canberra aircraft at Royal Air Force Wyton. Following the Operational Conversion Course he was posted to No. 100 Squadron operating in the Target Facilities Role. Mid-way through his tour the Squadron re-equipped with the Hawk and he remained on the Squadron until April 1994. Selected as a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Tucano, he was posted to No. 1 Flying Training School, Royal Air Force Linton-on-Ouse, where his undoubted flying ability and diplomatic skills identified him as an admirable individual for an exchange tour with the French Air Force. Accordingly, in 1996, he was posted to French Air Force Base Salon where he continued flying the Tucano. Returning to the United Kingdom in February 2000, he was posted to No. 39 (1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit) Squadron, Royal Air Force Marham, operating Canberra T4 and Canberra PR9 aircraft in the Strategic Reconnaissance role. Joining the Squadron at its busiest operational time for many years, Flight Lieutenant Coulton flew numerous operational missions, in support of many different operations, over both Iraq and Afghanistan. Once again his flying ability was noted and, in 2003, he was selected to become the Squadron Qualified Flying Instructor. A dedicated family man, most of his leisure time was spent with his wife and their two young children.


The T4 is the dual-control variant used for training to support 39 Squadron's operational Canberra PR9 aircraft,  which have provided a unique reconnaissance capability on operations, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.