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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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Bomber Command Crest
30.07.1944 No. 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit Halifax II BB261 P/O. Collins

Operation: Training

Date: 30th July 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU)

Type: Halifax II

Serial: BB261

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Lindholme

Location: Hatfield Woodhouse

Pilot: P/O. Gilson Edmund Collins 177516 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Robert John Neeson 1325312 RAFVR Age 27. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Harold Jones 1397694 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Norman Leslie Skidmore 1684303 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. T.W. Jones RAFVR Survived - injured

Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Francis Peter McCarthy 1893589 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. L. Marshall RAFVR Survived - injured


Taking off at 02:24 hrs on a night circuit training exercise. During take off for the second time the Halifax flew into adverse weather conditions described as “a swirl of mist” Shortly afterwards the aircraft crashed at 02:28 hrs at Hatfield Woodhouse - as shown on the map. Two gunners survived the crash injured.

Burial details:

P/O. Gilson Edmund Collins. Redhill Cemetery (Redstone) Plot E. Grave 3538. Son of Joseph and Gladys Emily Collins, husband of Hannah Collins, of Canton, Cardiff, Wales.

Sgt. Robert John Neeson. Glasgow Cemetery (Lambhill) Sec. R. Grave 608. Son of Robert and Jean Neeson, of Glasgow, Scotland.

Sgt. Harold Jones. Holyhead Burial Board Cemetery (Maeshyfryd) Sec. 2. Grave 768. Husband of S. Jones, of Clapham, London, England.

Sgt. Norman Leslie Skidmore. Carnoustie Cemetery (Shanwell) Sec A. Grave 85. Son of Harry and Hannah Skidmore, husband of Constance Douglas Skidmore, of Carnoustie, Scotland.

Sgt. George Francis Peter McCarthy. Hatfield Cemetery (Woodhouse) Row EE. Grave 22. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Barry Jameson for bringing this loss to our attention.

KTY 10.09.2016

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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 CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 10 September 2016, 12:47

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