LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Edwin Francis COLLAERY

Service No: 402944
Born: Wollongong NSW, 4 July 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 November 1940
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Langham
Died: Air Operations (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft LZ192), North Sea, 29 June 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis Merion Collaery and Isabelle Collaery; husband of Alice Leonora Collaery, of Fairy Meadow, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Wollongong NSW
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Beaufighter LZ192 took off from RAF Langham at 0340 hours on 29 June 1944 to carry out a ‘E’ boat patrol from Dunkirk to the Hook. Six aircraft of the Squadron took part in the patrol and LZ192 failed to return. The No. 455 Squadron aircraft were accompanied by 5 Beaufighters of No. 489 Squadron RNZAF. The patrol sighted 2 Mine Sweepers and 2 trawlers near the Hook and nine other small ships entering the mouth of the Hook. The formation made a wide turn to port and climbed, making a diving attack from 800 feet to the deck. LZ192 had the starboard engine damaged in the attack and maintained height on one engine for a while but was soon compelled to ditch. The Nav got out of the aircraft and the dinghy inflated. The Pilot was apparently knocked unconscious and the Nav tried to get him out but was unable to do so, and the aircraft sank before he recovered consciousness. The Nav got into the dinghy and the other aircraft circled and sent a position report. Air-Sea Rescue aircraft escorted by Thunderbolts were sent out and circled the dinghy continuously. An airborne lifeboat was dropped but was too far away for the Nav to reach. Eventually a high speed Launch reached him and took him to Yarmouth suffering from slight bruises.

The crew members of LZ192 were:

Flying Officer Edwin Francis Collaery (402944) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Horace William Pearson DFC (425547) (O11366) (Navigator Wireless) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 16 August 1968

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/8/526

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951