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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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19 Squadron Crest
19 Squadron Mustang IIIb FB194 Fl/Lt. Collyns

Operation: Fighter Sweep

Date: 20th August 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 19 Squadron 122 Wing (motto: Possunt quia posse videntur "They can because they think they can")

Type: Mustang IIIB

Serial: FB194

Code: QV-I

Base: ALG B12. Ellon, France (nicknamed 'Jerusalem')

Location: Rouvres, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Basil Gordon Collyns DFC. NZ/391368 RNZAF Age 31. Killes

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 18:32 hrs from the Square-Mesh Track (SMT) airfield at Ellon.

During the combined sweep with 65 squadron they were dived on by very 20 enemy aircraft with a fierce air battle takin place. Fl/Lt. Collyns was seen to shoot down one before he was himself bounced and shot down. The Hurricane crashed near railway crossing about a kilometre from Rouvres.

At 10:00 hrs on the 22nd he was buried with the presence of the entire village, The Germans protested as to the amount of flowers placed. After the area was liberated his body was reinterred on the 05th October.

It is reported that on Thursday, June 22, 1944 flying Mustang III FB236 he was shot down by flak, picked up by US Army. rejoining his squadron shortly afterwards.

Earlier on Monday the15th February 1943 flying Spitfire IIa P8440 whilst with Air Fighting Development Unit from Duxford the was struck by another Spitfire IIA P8468 flown by 24 year old, Sgt. Malcolm Kirk Jackson NZ/414297 RNZAF who is thought to have been momentarily blinded by the sun. Sgt. Jackson sadly lost his life, Fl/Lt. Collyns managed to carry out a wheels up landing. His Spitfire was repaired and returned to service.

Served with 238. 243. 601. 1. 600 TU. 222.1493 Flight. 65. 19 Squadrons

DFC Citation:

"This officer, now on his second tour of operational flying, has completed a large number of sorties. As flight commander, he has led his flight with outstanding skill and courage and has inflicted much damage on the enemy. During August, 1944, the squadron met a large force of enemy aircraft, and Flight Lieutenant Collyns displayed considerable ability and initiative by leading his flight to attack the enemy top cover, thus enabling the remainder of the squadron to engage the lower enemy formation. This officer has destroyed 7 enemy aircraft and damaged many others."

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Basil Gordon Collyns DFC. Villeneuve-St Georges Old Communal Cemetery. Grave 93. Son of Guy Shuckburgh Collyns and Jean Collyns (née Armstrong). Husband of Margaret Lucy Collyns, (née Churchward) of Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand. Born on the Monday, 24th February 1913 at Greymouth, Grey District. Prior to enlisting on the 19 November 1939 age 26 worked as a sheep farmer. Brother of F/O. Eric Arthur Collyns - see below.

Others in this report:

Sgt. Malcolm Kirk Jackson. Newmarket Cemetery. Plot O. Grave 380. Son of John and Alice Emma Jackson, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Husband of Mary Kathleen Jackson (née Holland). Born in Christchurch on the Friday, 7th June 1918. A car sprayer/mechanic prior to joining the RNZAF as a trainee pilot on the Monday, 21st July 1941

F/O. Eric Arthur Collyns. Maala Cemetery, Aden. Grave 149. Born on the Sunday, 27th August 1911. Seriously injured in a flying accident on the Tuesday, 25th July 1933 flying a Tiger MothDH-60M K1212 with 8 Squadron on a practice bombing exercise. He died later the same day.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

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 (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', Franek Grabowski, 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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