Pilot Officer Albert Thomas Stanley COLLIER

Service No: 414446
Born: Warwick QLD, 26 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 September 1941
Unit: No. 550 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Grimsby
Died: Air Operations: (No. 550 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM301), Germany, 2 December 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Hanover War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Douglas Stanley Collier and Myra Grace Collier, of Sherwood, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1653 hours on the night of 2/3rd December 1943, Lancaster LM301 took off from Grimsby detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Twelve other aircraft from the Squadron were on the mission, and all returned safely. Other crews stated that there was considerable fighter opposition en route and that heavy flak was encountered at times. Lancaster LM301 crashed at Wasbuttel, 2 kms south west of Calberlah. Six of the crew members were killed and one became a prisoner.

The crew members of LM301 were:

Flight Sergeant Herbert Sidney Bennett (1339124) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Pilot Officer Albert Thomas Stanley Collier (414446) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant John Andrew Cromie (410633) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 23 May 1946
Sergeant William Dowson (1590162) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer Peter Alan Lee (162786) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Edward Arthur Topham (1818440) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Frank Turner (1685409) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

In a PoW Report the then Warrant Officer Cromie said: “I was standing near the astro dome and had just reported some route markers to the Navigator. I was knocked down by violent shaking of the aircraft, and believe w\we were hit by flak. On standing up with difficulty the aircraft appeared out of control in a weaving dive. I saw through the astro dome all the starboard main plane and fuselage to the rear of me to be one mass of flame. My I/C was dead, so as the Navigator was carrying out jump procedure, I took off my helmet and put on my chute, and made my way forward, only to lose my senses just before reaching the Engineer. I woke up on the ground. I presume I was blown out at about 20,000 feet when hit. The aircraft was badly on fire and out of control. I presume the others were killed. The Germans told me all but the Engineer were dead and they told me they knew nothing of him. I saw personal effects of the other five I think Sergeant Turner was blown out of the aircraft with me as we were next to each other, but do not know if he had his chute on or not. I was led to believe by the Germans that he was dead. I believe that Pilot Officer Collier lost his life, I was shown personal articles of his. Released by the Russians on 23 April 1945.”


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, 166/8/317

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