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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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R.A.F. Crest
28.01.1943 No. 20 OTU Wellington IC HF858 Plt Off. Peter D.O. Carey

Operation: Training - Cross-Country exercise

Date: 28th January 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 20 Operational Training Unit (OTU), 'B' Flight

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: HF858

Base: RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland

Location: Moray Firth, Scotland

Pilot: Plt Off. Peter Denzil O’Donoghue Carey 129334 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Nav: Plt Off. John Dudley Birch 129764 RAFVR Age 20. Missing

Bomb Aimer: Sgt. John Collingridge 15750314 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Ralph Hilton Credland 1114834 RAFVR Age 21. Missing

Air Gnr: Sgt. Edward Stanley Bala 1216503 RAFVR Age? Missing


On the 28th of January 1943, the crew of Wellington HF858 from 20 OTU, 'B' Flight, took off from Lossiemouth for a night cross-country exercise. They were carrying eight flash bombs, reconnaissance flares, photoflashes, sea markers and smoke floats.

The crew are thought to have ditched in the Moray Firth at approximately 21:45 hrs. An empty dinghy was found but no trace of the crew.

Sherborne School, Dorset - Any further information that you are able to assist them with fallen former pupils from all wars, we would be pleased to pass onto them.

Burial details:

Plt Off. Peter Denzil O’Donoghue Carey. Runnymede Memorial Panel 131. Further information thanks to Sherborne School Archives: Born 24 May 1923, son of Major Rupert O'Donoghue Carey (Old Shirburnian), Duke of Wellington's Regiment, of Green Shutters, Ripponden, Yorkshire, England.

Attended Sherborne Preparatory School. Attended Sherborne School (Abbey House) September 1937-July 1940; 6th form.

Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', December 1944: 'Peter Carey, during his three years at the School, made many friends and leaves with them the memory of a fine brain, a quiet determination, and a character in which there was nothing petty or selfish. He had a sensitive nature and his consideration for other people endeared him to many. The son of an Old Shirburnian, he left young, and was killed while serving as a Pilot Officer, early in 1943.'

Above: Panels at Runnymede Memorial (Aircrew Remembered Archives)

Plt Off. John Dudley Birch. Runnymede Memorial Panel 130. Son of John R and Mina Birch of Renvyle, Co.Galway, Republic of Ireland

Sgt. John Collingridge. Runnymede Memorial Panel 145. Further information: John “Jack”Collingridge, born on November 15th 1922, the son of Alfred and Mabel Collingridge of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

His father Alfred was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Horse Artillery in WW1, later changing his birth certificate to enable him to serve in WW2 also. In 1927, Jack’s mother, Mabel died, and the children were raised by aunts while their father ran a pub. Before the war, Jack lived in the pub (Russell St. Tavern) in Leamington, and then when his father joined the airforce moved to his aunts’ house in Quarry Street in Warwick. Worked at Albert Herbert Engineering in Coventry as an apprentice toolmaker (reserved occupation). He was the twin brother of Robert (an actor, theatre manager and art dealer) and brother of Joan.

Jack volunteered for the Royal Air Force, receiving his call up papers in September 1941. He reported for duty in London on 29th September 1941 for aircrew training, hoping to become a Wireless Operator. In May 1942 he attended class 42J DARE Aerotech Albany, Georgia, U.S.A. for training, eventually becoming a Bomb Aimer. In June 1942 he moved to MPO303 at Trenton, Ontario, becoming a Sergeant. Whilst in Hamilton, Ontario, he met his girlfriend Evelyn and was planning to return to her after the war had ended. Completed his training at Lossiemouth but was to lose his life without flying any operations. Also remembered on the Leamington Spa War memorial.

Sgt. Ralph Hilton Credland. Runnymede Memorial Panel 146. Further information: Son of Arthur and Rose A. Credland of Billingborough, Lincolnshire, England.

Ralph Credland is also remembered on a private memorial in the church of St. Andrews, Billingborough, Lincolnshire.

Sgt. Edward Stanley Bala. Runnymede Memorial Panel 141. NoK details currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?

Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits to Paul McGuire (nephew) and Joan McGuire (sister of 'Jack' Collingridge). With thanks to Sherborne School Archives for additional information.

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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 (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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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