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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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440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron
18.08.1944 440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron, RCAF Typhoon Ib MN929 Fg Off. John S. Colville

Operation: Strafing, France

Date: 18th August 1944 (Thursday)

Unit No: 440 (City of Ottawa) Squadron, RCAF, 143 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: MN929

Code: I8:Z

Base: ALG B.9 Lantheuil, France

Location: East of Sassy, France

Pilot: Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville J29167 RCAF Age 24. KiA (1)

Above: Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville from his Service Record

Above: Courtesy of The Ottawa Citizen, dated June 25th, 1946

From left to right in the front row: Fg Off. Roger Eugene George McCurdy J21517 (KiA 13th August 1944), Fg Off. James Hughes Beatty J14471, Unknown, Unknown.

Standing second row: Fg Off. John Fraser Dewar J28180 (KiA 12th August 1944), WO2. Richard Arthur Watson R135831, Fg Off. Ronald William Doidge J26406 (KiA 20th October 1944), Sqn Ldr. Harold Orville Gooding DFC J10608, Flt Lt. Clifford Waldron Hicks J26912 (KiA 8th August 1944), Fg Off. Donald Claude Campbell J28170.

Seated on the wing third row: Flt Lt. Donald Edward Jenvey J11309 (Evader/Killed 25th March 1944), Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville (This report), Fg Off. R.J. Currie Gardner J36788, Fg Off. Gordon Douglas Russell J13714.


Flt Lt. D.E. Jenvey who was flying as White 2 described the loss of Typhoon Ib MN929 and Fg Off. Colville at 15:25 hrs on 18th August, 1944.

‘The formation took off on a strafing trip. Flying Officer Colville was White 2 and I was White 3. After flying for approximately 15 minutes transport were reported below us. We did an orbit to starboard and due to the fact I was flying on the right hand side I dropped back Into No. 2 position and F/O Colville into No.3. Just as No.1 was attacking I called White 2 to go in ahead but he returned saying he would follow me. We attacked two motorised vehicles which were destroyed and broke hard to port. As I pulled up I saw F/O Colville surrounded by flak. He flew just long enough to finish a turn. Upon straightening out his aircraft went into a steep dive and crashed in an orchard. F/O Colville baled out just as the aircraft went into the dive. His parachute streamed behind him but failed to open and he landed a very short distance from the crashed aircraft. I circled the parachute but could see no movement, then climbed up and reported the accident to White 1 and returned to base’.

Note: Flt Lt. Donald Edward Jenvey DFC, MiD, J11309 RCAF Typhoon Ib, RB201 I8:L was hit by flak on the 29th December 1944 and forced-landed near Gonau. He was shot and killed on the 25th March 1945.

The aircraft was hit by flak in the vicinity of Vimouties, in France. The aircraft crashed between Vimouties and Sassy to the west where Fg Off. Colville was initially buried in an isolated grave.

(1) Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville was the third of three sons of Annie Colville to have been killed in the service of Canada and the Commonwealth. Other families tragically lost three sons during the war but uniquely all three Colville son’s were pilots:

Flt Sgt. William Freeborne 'Bill’ Colville was killed, along with two crew members and five passengers, when their Hudson Mk.I crashed on take-off at RCAF Station Torbay in Newfoundland on the 6th May 1942;

Fg Off. Alexander Colborne ‘Alex’ Colville was listed MiA, along with his crew, when his Lancaster II was lost without trace on a mission to Stuttgart in Germany on the 15th/16th March 1944.

Burial details:

Above Initial Grave marker for Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville from his Service Record.

Fg Off. John Spencer ‘Sandy’ Colville. Recovered and reinterred at the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery XIX.A.6 on the 18th May 1945. Born on the 21st June 1920 in Northumberland and Durham Counties, Ontario.Son of Alexander (deceased) and Annie Josephine (née Colborne) Colville of Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

Researched by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to this pilot and his family.

Other sources as quoted below:

RS 11.05.2023 - Addition of The Ottawa Citizen cutting

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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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