Originally printed on July 25, 2008 in the Family Announcements.
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Pilot Officer 40802 Aston Maurice Cooper-Key was just 21 years old when he died during a wartime anti-aircraft training exercise in Derby on July 24, 1940.
Officer Cooper-Key was flying a Hurricane fighter plane when its engine failed. It is believed he tried to land in a park at Normanton, near to the Rolls-Royce factory, but when he spotted a group of young children playing there he changed course and tragically crashed into a nearby railway embankment and died.
One of the young boys who saw the plane veer away was convinced that the young pilot's bravery saved their lives.
Sixty eight years later, at the age of 76, Dennis Tunnicliffe was the driving force behind a memorial service with full military honours for the pilot.
Pilot Officer Cooper-Key was a member of 46 Squadron Royal Air Force. He was the son of Major Astleigh Langrishe Cooper-Key and Kathleen Juliette Cooper-Key of Hythe, Kent.
He had been posted to RAF Digby in Lincolnshire little more than a month before his death and he is buried near there at Scopwick Church Burial Ground, Row 2, Grave reference 32.
A number of people who witnessed the crash, along with Mr Tunnicliffe, attended the memorial service held at Sherwood Recreation Ground, off Osmaston Park Road, on July 24, 2008. They were joined by RAF officers and the Royal British Legion.