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Remembered Today:

2AM Collins - 17 and 47 Squadrons


stephen p nunn
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Thanks to the kindness of 'Sotonmate' on this forum, my cousin now knows a lot about the Great War service of his (maternal) grandfather - 2AM H.R. Collins (119353) of Maldon (originally 76 Spital Road).

Sotonmate has identified him as an Assistant Armourer, then Armourer who joined the RFC on 18/1/18. He was variously with 47 and 17 Sqadrons and in Salonika, France and Russia.

Taking the specified service dates in those two squadrons, I am now trying to match them with bases, aircraft and campaigns/activities. This is what I can work out so far (my ideas in italics):

18/1/18 - joined RFC (not sure where or where intially based?)

? Travel (by sea?) 10 days to 2 months?

1/4/18 - transferred to RAF

14/4/18 - in Salonika (not sure if with a Squadron at that stage?)

4/5/18 - to 47 Squadron (not sure where based, aircraft or activities)

7/12/18 - to 17 Squadron (Squadron re-equipped with 12xDH9s and 6xCamels)

? Travel ?

14/4/19 - in France (doesn't seem to make sense?)

Disembarked at Novorossik, Russia. Based at Military Mission at Ekaterinodar.

1/5/19 - to 47 Squadron (Russia) (Southern Russia to help General Denekin's White Russian Forces defeat the Bolshevik armies. Had BE12s, BE2s and FK3s but then DH9s, DH9As, Sopwith Camels, RE8s).

3/5/19 - in Russia (but already there?)

30/8/19 - to 17 Squadron (not sure where or which aircraft/activities?)

5/9/19 - left France (odd again)

7/10/19 - to "Base Depot" (not sure where this was?)

2/12/19 - Medical Category B1 - to Reserve (not sure what B1 means or how long in reserve?)

1922 - medals issued (BW and V) (my cousin has the BW medal)

Can any RFC/RAF experts fill in some gaps please?

Many thanks

SPN (and cousin)

Maldon

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Just glanced at your message.

I can account for 284/5 of the 304 that served with 47 Squadron in South Russia and it now appears that 2AM Collins is one of the 19 or 20 men that I have had no knowledge of, until today.

A dozen or so men disembarked at Novorossisk early May, and it now seems likely that AM Collins may have arrived with them. It does seem strange that he (like the other 18 or 19) does not appear among the squadron's record books.

On the 19th August 1919 some 13 men embarked south Russia (but cannot trace their disembarkation dates); perhaps AM Collins was with this group.

47 Squadron were based in Salonika from September 1916 and in early April 1919 one flight left for Russia.

Sorry I can't be of more help but am pleased that I can account for one more man of this famous squadron.

Regards

Rob

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Hello again maldon

Given that AM Collins doesn't appear among the squadron records it is likely he was based at the Military Mission at Ekaterinodar. Several RAF men based there were eventually posted to 47 Squadron.

Squadron consisted of 4 Flights - A, B, C and HQ. Each flight operated independently from its own fully equipped train.

From April 1919 to late summer the aircraft used by 47 were primarily DH9s. These were later supplemented by DH9As and Sopwith Camels. RE8s also feature.

Two good books on the subject are 'Over the Balkans and South Russia' (History of 47 Squadron) by H R Jones, and 'Air Command' by Raymond Collishaw.

Regards

Rob

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Hello again maldon

Given that AM Collins doesn't appear among the squadron records it is likely he was based at the Military Mission at Ekaterinodar. Several RAF men based there were eventually posted to 47 Squadron.

Squadron consisted of 4 Flights - A, B, C and HQ. Each flight operated independently from its own fully equipped train.

From April 1919 to late summer the aircraft used by 47 were primarily DH9s. These were later supplemented by DH9As and Sopwith Camels. RE8s also feature.

Two good books on the subject are 'Over the Balkans and South Russia' (History of 47 Squadron) by H R Jones, and 'Air Command' by Raymond Collishaw.

Regards

Rob

Thanks Rob - excellent information. I am seeing my cousin on Saturday and will update him - he will be really pleased.

All the best.

SPN

Maldon

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Without seeing the record I'm not going to try to clear up the transfer details, but I will comment on some of the timings. Don't forget that travel was not instantaneous, nor was the bulk of it by air. So part of his time from 18/1/18 to 14/4/18 was spent at sea on his way to Salonika, for example.

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To follow up from the post about the time to travel to Salonika, it would depend on which type of ship he was on. My Grandfather took about ten days from the UK. Some men, travelling with equipment, took about two months.

Keith

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Without seeing the record I'm not going to try to clear up the transfer details, but I will comment on some of the timings. Don't forget that travel was not instantaneous, nor was the bulk of it by air. So part of his time from 18/1/18 to 14/4/18 was spent at sea on his way to Salonika, for example.

Thanks again (and Rockdoc) - good point about travel.

Best regards.

SPN

Maldon

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Thanks to the kindness of 'Sotonmate' on this forum, my cousin now knows a lot about the Great War service of his (maternal) grandfather - 2AM H.R. Collins (119353) of Maldon (originally 76 Spital Road).

Sotonmate has identified him as an Assistant Armourer, then Armourer who joined the RFC on 18/1/18. He was variously with 47 and 17 Sqadrons and in Salonika, France and Russia.

Taking the specified service dates in those two squadrons, I am now trying to match them with bases, aircraft and campaigns/activities. This is what I can work out so far (my ideas in italics):

18/1/18 - joined RFC (not sure where or where intially based?)

? Travel (by sea?) 10 days to 2 months?

1/4/18 - transferred to RAF

14/4/18 - in Salonika (not sure if with a Squadron at that stage?)

4/5/18 - to 47 Squadron (not sure where based, aircraft or activities)

7/12/18 - to 17 Squadron (Squadron re-equipped with 12xDH9s and 6xCamels)

? Travel ?

14/4/19 - in France (doesn't seem to make sense?)

Disembarked at Novorossik, Russia. Based at Military Mission at Ekaterinodar.

1/5/19 - to 47 Squadron (Russia) (Southern Russia to help General Denekin's White Russian Forces defeat the Bolshevik armies. Had BE12s, BE2s and FK3s but then DH9s, DH9As, Sopwith Camels, RE8s).

3/5/19 - in Russia (but already there?)

30/8/19 - to 17 Squadron (not sure where or which aircraft/activities?)

5/9/19 - left France (odd again)

7/10/19 - to "Base Depot" (not sure where this was?)

2/12/19 - Medical Category B1 - to Reserve (not sure what B1 means or how long in reserve?)

1922 - medals issued (BW and V) (my cousin has the BW medal)

Can any RFC/RAF experts fill in some gaps please?

Many thanks

SPN (and cousin)

Maldon

Met with my cousin last night and gave him an updated version of the above. He was so very pleased and is to take it to his mum today to see if it sparks any memories of things that "Bob" Collins used to talk about. I remember playing dominos with him. He was a lovely, quiet old boy who never spoke much about the Great War. He left his BW medal to my cousin, along with a wooden box that we think might have been made out of a prop boss.

Thanks everyone for all your help.

SPN

Maldon

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  • 1 month later...

According to the book 'fighter squadrons of the RAF' No 17 Sqd 'A' Flight was sent to Batoum on 31 Dec 1918 to cooperate with forces fighting the Bolsheviks. It had a mixed bag of aircraft then, After 9 months the squadron was reunited at Constantinople and disbanded on 14th November 1919. It reformed on 1st April 1924 flying Sopwith Snipes.

I hope that this might add something

Roger Coasby

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According to the book 'fighter squadrons of the RAF' No 17 Sqd 'A' Flight was sent to Batoum on 31 Dec 1918 to cooperate with forces fighting the Bolsheviks. It had a mixed bag of aircraft then, After 9 months the squadron was reunited at Constantinople and disbanded on 14th November 1919. It reformed on 1st April 1924 flying Sopwith Snipes.

I hope that this might add something

Roger Coasby

It certainly does Roger - is that the book by Rawlings?

Many thanks.

SPN

Maldon

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