Flight Sergeant Colin James MITCHELL

Service No: 417981
Born: Cummins SA, 29 January 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1942
Unit: No. 582 Squadron (RAF), RAF Little Staughton, Bedfordshire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 582 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB512), Kent, 23 September 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey UK
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Una Myrtle Kerr Mitchell; husband of Aileen Elizabeth Mitchell, of Kyancutta, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Kyancutta SA
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On the 23 September 1944, Lancaster PB512 took off from RAF Little Staughton at 1042 hours, detailed to carry out a non-operational fighter affiliation exercise. The aircraft dived into the ground at 1132 hours, and crashed some 6 kms east from North Weald airfield. All on board were killed. .

The crew members of PB512 were:

Leading Aircraftman William Arthur George Alston (1509278) (RAFVR) (FME, Ground Crew)
Flying Officer George John Burch (159512) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Desmond Charles Evans (1836534) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Frank David Hill (132036) (RAF) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Colin James Mitchell (417981) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer William Lawrence Shirley (424529) (RNZAF) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Duncan Lewis Thomas Smith (1389708) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)

A report into the accident stated: “The aircraft was engaged in a fighter affiliation exercise, in which the evasive action becomes progressively more violent. The Pilot called to the fighter on the radio and stated that he was about to turn into the reciprocal course. The aircraft started a steep turn to starboard at 8,000 feet, which turned into a diving turn from which the aircraft only levelled out laterally at about 2,000 feet, but it failed to pull out of the dive. It was however still diving and went straight into the ground, blowing up on impact. No chutes were seen to leave the aircraft. It was considered that the Pilot got into a high speed dive and did not allow himself sufficient room to pull out of the dive.”


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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/27/576


Feast, Sean Master Bombers: the experiences of a Pathfinder Squadron at war, 1944-1945, Grub Street, London, 2008

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