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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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107 Squadron Crest
31.10.1942 No. 88 Squadron Boston III Z2179 F/O. 'Harry' Henry P. Collings

Operation: Pont-au-Vendin

Date: 31st October 1942 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 88 Squadron (1)

Type: Boston III

Serial: Z2179

Code: RH-?

Base: RAF Great Massingham, Norfolk

Location: Schrevelstraat Street, Woumen, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. 'Harry' Henry Philemon Collings 115183 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Ronald Tebbutt 1254448 RAFVR Age 32. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Stanley Walter Nash 1293004 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Francis Rex Pickering 1166528 RAFVR Age 31. Killed


Mrs M. E. Carpenter, who lived next door to the family of the pilot F/O. Collings - submitted the photographs in January 2015. We would be delighted to pass these on to the relatives of Harry Collings.

Update April 2016 - details passed with many thanks to Alex Mackenzie for this.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Great Massingham at 11.27 hrs to bomb the power stations in France. Some 17 Bostons taking part in this daylight operations a low level cloud cover raid. Cover was not so good resulting in 10 Bostons bombing various minor other targets. (1) This aircraft was in fact borrowed by 107 squadron for this operation, who supplied the crew.

Z2179 was shot down by Lt. Paul Galland (2) of 8./JG26 flying a Fw 190, somewhere between Jonkershove and Houthulst, Belgium, this was the only aircraft lost on the operation.

Although a tragic accident occurred at the base of 88 Squadron in Oulton, Norfolk when another Boston W8297 exploded during removal of their bomb load after returning from an operation. Six ground crew were killed

(2) Lt. Paul Galland, the younger brother of the Luftwaffe fighter ace, Adolf Galland, was killed just 5 hours later when he was shot down over the English Channel.

He was one of four brothers who served in the Luftwaffe - 2 were killed during wartime service. 3 of them were classed as ‘Aces’ (over 5 abschüsse)



Right: Lt. Paul Galland of 8./JG26


88 Squadron Boston III's during a low level attack (courtesy IWM)

Notes: Author, Dirk Decuypere covered this loss fully in his book ‘Vermist boven Vlaanderen’ (Missing Above Flanders. A publication in Belgium)

Burial details:

F/O. 'Harry' Henry Philemon Collings. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. Grave VI.AA.11. Son of Robert and Clara Collings of Mill Road, Tongwynlais, Glamorgan, Wales. Born in 1920 and trained in the USA. Also commemorated on the Whitchurch Memorial. (See credits)

Sgt. Ronald Tebbutt. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. Grave VI.AA.8. Son of Vince and Martha Ann Tebbutt, husband of Ida Tebbutt, of Luton, Bedfordshire, England.

Sgt. Stanley Walter Nash. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. Grave VI.AA.10. Son of William and Annie Nash, of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England.

Sgt. Francis Rex Pickering. Adegem Canadian War Cemetery. Grave VI.AA.9. Son of Francis and Mary Elizabeth Pickering, of Alderwasley, Derbyshire, England. Husband of Sissy Joan Pickering.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to relatives of Mrs E.M. Carpenter for information and photographs of the pilot. Mrs Carpenter used to live at No. 19 Mill Road, Tongwynlais, Glamorgan - it is understood that the the Collings family lived at, perhaps, No. 21. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries’ (Updated 2014 version) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

KTY 02.08.2016 - Page updated with crew funeral photos and others added.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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