Warrant Officer Eugene Patrick (Jimmy) Collins Rear Gunner
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Squadrons at Fiskerton,1943 to 45.

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Misc. images.Page 1.

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576 Sqn Lancaster PD 309 recovery

150 Squadron R.A.F.

GROUP CAPTAIN TERENCE JOHN ARBUTHNOT

576 Sqn Wing/Cmdr Basil Arthur Templeman-Rooke

576 Sqn Flt/Lt Leslie Brown

576 Sqn. Flt/Sgt Eddie Wise

49 sqn Flt/Lt Charles Dunnet

49 Sqn Fred Cooper.

576 Sqn F/O William Carland Johnston

49 Sqn Flt/Lt Victor Medway Arnold

576 Sqn Flt/Lt Charles Roach

 49 Sqn Sgt. E.B.(Ted) Cachart.

49 Sqn Sgt Douglas D.R. Dalaway

576 Sqn Flt/Lt Bertram W. Roberts

576 Sqn Flt/Sgt Johnny Musgrave

576 Sqn Flying Officer Edward L Saslove

49 Sqn Pilot Officer Edgar R. G. Haines D.F.M.

576 Sqn Flt/Lt Herbert Benson

576 Sqn Flying Officer Frank Wilson

576 Sqn Flt/Sgt Dennis Ovenden

576 Sqn Flt/Sgt Danny Ranchuk

576 Sqn Flt/Sgt Ken Tamkin.

49 Sqn Flying Officer Alexander V Bone

576 Sqn Sgt Stanley Lloyd

576 Sqn Warrant Officer Frederick Taylor, DFM

576 Sqn Warrant Officer Reg Croot

49 Sqn. S/L J.E Raw-Rees D.F.C.

576 Sqn Sgt Alfred Thorpe Turton

 576 Sqn Warrant Officer Eugene Patrick (Jimmy) Collins

576 Sqn. F/O R Bastick & Crew

576 Sqn. Sgt. George Lynn.

576 Sqn Airman Ron Kent

576 Sqn. Sgt. D.Girling.

576 Sqn F/O A.J.L Ridge

576 Sqn F/O Archibald de Largy Greig

Contact & links to similar sites, page 1

 Links to similar sites, page 2.

MEMORIAL PAGE

We would like to thank Veronica, the daughter of Warrant Officer Collins for allowing the website to show her late fathers service with 576 Squadron.

Jimmy (Paddy) Collins joined The RAF at No 3 Recruit Centre, RAF Cardington, Bedford on 2 November 1943.

From this centre having been fitted out in a new RAF uniform, he was posted to No3 Air crew Receiving centre at Regents Park, London on 8th November 1943. A full Medical and intelligence examination would have followed.

Having passed the exams Jimmy was posted to 14 Initial Training Wing Bridlington, North Yorkshire on 27 November 1943 for initial training.

Having completed his Basic RAF training he was posted on 19 February 1944 to No1 Empire Air Gunnery School RAF Pembrey, Carmarthenshire  for training on the .303 Browning machine gun fitted to Bomber Commands Heavy bombers.

Posted to No 7 Air gunnery School Stormy Down, Near Pyle, Bridgend on 29 April 1944, Jimmy would have fired his weapons at the range at Margham near Port Talbort and flown in the turret mounted Avro Anson, the RAF's standard airborne training platform for Air Gunners. 

Posted to  No 10 Operational Training unit at RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire (now Dalton Barracks used by the Royal Logistical Corp), he crewed up and the crew familiaized themselves with the units Vickers Wellington medium twin engined bomber.

The crew were then posted to RAF Lindholme (71 Base). This unit, part of 7 (training) Group was responsible for the conversion training of crews to the Handley Page Halifax, and Avro Lancasters as they became available.

It is highly probable that Lindholme's resident Heavy Conversion unit ( No 1656) was by this time equipped with the Avro Lancaster.

It was at this point that the crew were joined by their Flight Enginner. He having undergone seperate training on the handling of the 4 Merlin engines that powered the Lancaster.  

Fighter affiliation training for the air gunners would have also been completed at Lindholme.

This aspect of crew training consisted of fighter aircraft, possibly Hurricanes of  1481 (Bomber) Gunnery Flight from RAF Ingham,( the airfield situated 1 mile North of RAF Scampton ) practicing engaging the crews Lancaster allowing for the Air Gunners to refrine their procedures for engaging enemy night fighter.

Having been passed out by the H.C.U's instructors,the crew were then ready for posting to any of No1 Groups operational Squadrons based in North Lincolnshire. 

576 Squadron at RAF Fiskerton, operating the 4 engined Avro Lancaster was the crews new Squadron.

The crew commenced operations on the evening of the 21st March in Lancaster BA 562 B-Baker 2 (squared) to the German city of Bremen, the target being the Duetsche Vacuum Oil Refinery. This operation involved 133 Lancasters of No1 Group taking part and 6 Mosquitos from No 8 Group marking the target.   

The Lancaster took off at 07-45 am and landed safely at 12-30pm having delivered its Bomb load of 1x 4,000lb High Capacity bomb (known as a cookie) and an Incendiary Load consisting of 1500 x 4lb and 120 x 60lb incendiaries.

The last operation Jimmy did with the Squadron was the return to the UK of Far Eastern Prisoners Of War. (Operation Dodge). These former POW's having been flown in from the Far East by the Americans to Pomigliano, Italy were repatriated to the UK on the 24th August. 

The 576 Squadron crews having flown out of Fiskerton at 07-33 am on the morning of the 22nd August to Pomigiano.

Returning at 18-03 pm on the evening of the 24th August to the former USAAF Base at Glatton (Station 130), just west of Peterbourgh. This Base up to June 1945 had been the home of the 748th,749th,750th and 751st Bombardment Squadrons of the 457th Bombardment Group (Heavy), United States Army Air Force.

The Airfield now being one of the many former American airfields being used by the Royal Air Force as a Recieving Centre for repatriated Prisoners of War. 

The Lancaster on this last operation was RF 200, D-Donald. Jimmy was on this, his last operation the Mid upper Gunner.

Records indicate that on this operation the crews usual M.U.G., Flight Sgt Hartnett was not on board, the Rear Gunners position on the Lancaster not being manned.

Flight Sgts Hartnett had been on the Operation Dodge flight to Pomigiano on the 11th to 13th August. Jimmy on that operation had not been required to man the Rear Turret. 

576 Squadron disbanded on the 13th September 1945. The Squadron crews were spit between 50 and 61 Squadrons now based at RAF Sturgate near Gainsbourgh, Jimmy going to 50 Squadron on the 16th September.

This airfield,the last class A bomber airfield built as part of the wartime airfield building programme was never used operationially.

50 Squadron stayed at Sturgate until 23rd October 1946, when the Squadron was transferred to RAF Waddington.

Jimmy stayed with 50 Squadron until 9th December 1946 and was posted to the Signals Development Unit at West Drayton.

His duties at this unit are not known. 

Finally Jimmy was posted out to 101 Personnel Dispatch Centre, Kirkham, Blackpool on 12th February 1947 and discharged from the service.

 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

Jimmy Collins as a Flight Sgt. This picture was probably taken after Jimmy completed his aircrew training at the end of August 1944. A Southern Irishman by Birth, One of the many Irishman to volunteer for aircrew duties with the Royal Air Force.

Jimmy was known affectionately by the crew as Paddy, he being born in the village of Killarney, County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland on 22nd March 1923, one of 5 boys. The Navigator, Sgt Stevenson was from Northern Ireland and both he and Jimmy were the butt of each others jokes. Jimmy would sing Irish Rebel songs in the Ferryboat pub, the crews Local in Washingbourgh.

Details of the RAF Service compiled by Veronica on her Father. Page 1

Details of Jimmy's Service. Page 2

Details of Jimmy's Service. Page 3

RAF Abingdon, War time Base for 10 Operational Training Unit. This is the airfield Jimmy crewed up at, and undertook his initial training where the crew were trained to work as a team. Picture Courtesy Pat Minns, 10 O.T.U. Website.

Details of the crews First Operation with 576 Sqn Page 1

First Operation Page 2

The Crew of Flight Lt Woodruff shown on this page

Details of the crews last Operation.Page 1

The crews Last Operation page 2

The Avro Anson trainer was produced in 9 variants totaling 11,020 air frames. The main assembly plant in the UK for the Anson was the Avro assembly factory at Yeadon near Leeds, now Leeds Bradford airport. A total of 4,700 Ansons were built at Yeadon.

Bombing photo from the crews Lancaster NX576 K-King on the 18th April 1945. Bomb release was at a height of 18,000 ft. The target, a German Naval Base guarding the mouth of the River Elbe was completely destroyed by the 969 Main force Bombers,617 Lancaster's and 332 Halifax Bombers supported by 20 Mosquitoes Bombers.

This Squadron document one could well imagine to be fixed to the office door of the Gunnery Leader at Fiskerton. This officer was responsible to the Squadron's Commanding Officer for training and Discipline of the Squadron's Air Gunners. They were kept busy between Operations, The policy of the RAF was to ensure Crews were continually refreshed in their respective trades. In the case of Air Gunners they would be given lectures on the Browning machine guns they used in the Lancaster's Turrets and target practice using Browning's on a tripod on the Stations Firing Range situated on the Northern Perimeter Track next to the Northern T2 Hanger. (see map of airfield at the start of this website). Updates of the techniques employed by the German Luftwaffe and the RAF's response would also have been lectured on. Squadrons allowed the Air Gunners the use of a shotgun firing at clay pigeons, the thinking being that this allowed Air Gunners to practice deflection shooting.(Aiming at a space in front of the target thus ensuring the shot and clay pigeon met in the same place at the same time).

Air Gunners on the Firing range using the tripod mounted •303 calibre Twin Browning machine Guns. By 1945 No1 Group was being re equipped with the Rose Turret mounting the larger •50 Browning Machine Gun. Two •50’s replacing the 4 x •303 Browning’s mounted in the standard Fraser Nash Turret. This modification, Overseen by No 1 Groups Air Officer Commanding A.V.M. Rice in conjunction with Rose Brothers of Gainsborough.

Official 576 Squadron Photograph taken March 1945.This photograph shows all the Squadrons Aircrews. Jimmy is positioned sitting down, minus his brevet, front row,10th airman from the left. Photograph from David Fell 103/576 Squadron association.

Enlarged image of the Squadron Photograph showing Jimmy. Veronica comments that "Dad had to have elocution lessons as no-one could understand his Irish accent, which he never really lost".

576 Squadron Aircrew during the disbandment parade at RAF Fiskerton which took place on the 13th September 1945.The parade took place on the secondary runway 13-34. Ken Stott, a fellow 576 Squadron airman is seen here in the picture with Jimmy stood to Ken's Left.

The following comments are from Veronica. My Father married Mum in Nettleham Church on December 14th 1946, he was wearing his W/O badge which ties in with his promotion on 26th June 1946. Mum's name was Thelma Ladley a local girl from Nettleham. We sadly lost Dad in February 1990 he died in Lincoln Hospital. We lost Mum 4 months later in June 1990, she died at home where they had lived for nearly all of their married life. Veronica requests that if anyone can give her details of the Best man Sgt Richard Hartnett of Frome in Somerset. Sgt Hartnett was the crew's Mid Upper Gunner.

Photo shows Jimmy & Thelma dancing together in approximately 1948. They were both very good dancers and enjoyed partnering each other.

This picture is taken in the local pub approx 1970 showing both Jimmy & Thelma enjoying a drink together and Jimmy sporting a hand knitted cardigan by Veronica.

Easter Bonnet: This picture was taken at Lincoln Liberal Club and shows Jimmy & Thelma with eldest daughter Veronica & husband Rick on Easter Sunday 1972.

A very nice family photograph showing Jimmy and Thelma, taken in 1987 on the couples 40th Wedding anniversary celebration. Veronica with Husband Rick, and son's Andrew and the joker of the Family,Michael .

Jimmy On holiday in Dunoon, Scotland

This letter, sent to Veronica from the Ministry of Defence Medal Office, Innsworth, Gloucester. regarding Jimmy's Three well earned medals.

Jimmy's Picture and Medals on display