COUCHMAN, Bertie, Flight Sergeant (1253399, RAFVR*) - No.156 Squadron
British Empire Medal - awarded as per London Gazette dated 29 December 1942.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned:
1253399 Flight Sergeant Bertie Couchman, Royal Air Force.
One night in September, 1942, Flight Sergeant Couchman was the navigator of an aircraft detailed to attack a target in the Ruhr.
During the attack the aircraft was intercepted by an enemy aircraft and sustained damage which rendered it impossible to release the flares. On arrival back at base the captain accomplished a successful emergency landing, but unfortunately some of the flares ignited. Ammunition began to explode and the aircraft was set alight and was in great danger of being blown up.
Displaying complete disregard for his own safety, Flight Sergeant Couchman remained in the aircraft and assisted three members of the crew, two of whom were injured, to safety. In so doing he was twice thrown on to the flames when the floor collapsed, sustaining severe burns, but it was largely due to his courage and devotion to duty that his comrades were able to leave the aircraft safely.