The story of John "Jack" Collingridge

19/07 Updated: 04/01 08:14

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Sergeant John “Jack”Collingridge RAFVR was born on November the 15th 1922 ,the son of Alfred & 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. He 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 Airforce,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,USA 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. He completed his training at Lossiemouth and was to lose his life without flying any ops .

On the 28th of January 1943,the crew of Wellington HF 858 from 20 OTU B Flight took off from Lossiemouth for a night cross country exercise. They were carrying eight flash bombs, reconnaissance flares, photo flashes, sea markers and smoke floats. The crew are thought to have ditched in the Moray Firth at approximately 21.45 hours. An empty dinghy was found but no trace of the crew. Sergeant Collingridge was the Bomb Aimer of the crew.

Crew

P/O Peter Denzil O’Donaghue Carey RAFVR

P/O John Birch RAFVR aged 20 of Co.Galway,Ireland

Sergeant John Collingridge RAFVR aged 21 of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Sergeant Ralph Credland RAFVR of Billingborough,Lincs.

Sergeant Edward Bala RAFVR

The crew are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.

Sergeant Credland is remembered on a private memorial in the church of St.Andrew’s at Billingborough,Lincolnshire.

Photo credits to-Paul McGuire(nephew)& Joan McGuire(sister)

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