Sergeant Colin Alexander NELSON

Service No: 5553
Born: Northcote VIC, 26 March 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 December 1939
Unit: No. 1654 Conversion Unit (RAF), RAF Station Wigsley
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1654 Conversion Unit Lancaster aircraft W4303), Yorkshire, 24 May 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Brandesburton (St Mary) Churchyard, Yorkshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Frederick Nicholas and Elsie Emmaline Nelson, of Northcote, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Northcote VIC
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 2323 hours on the night of the 23 May 1943, Lancaster W4303 took off from Wigsley for a night navigation detail combined with fighter affiliation practice. This was their final training flight before operations. At 0308 hours the aircraft broke up, scattering debris over a wide area around Humbleton village, approximately nine miles east north east of Hull, Yorkshire. The eight man crew were all killed. Towards the end of the flight the aircraft was seen to be taking evasive action in searchlights near home. During this procedure the aircraft was seen to leave a searchlight cone in a diving turn, though there was nothing to show exactly what happened before the crash.

The crew members of W4303 were:

Flying Officer Geoffrey Nigel James Bryde (414195) (Pilot)
Sergeant James Henry Roy Harper (1393719) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant William Neill McMullan (1088074) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Colin Alexander Nelson (5553) (Flight Engineer/Fitter 2A)
Flying Officer Lancelot Herbert Parker (132041) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Donald Fred Smith (1272560) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Fulliott Victor Polhill Turner (130700) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flying Officer John Albert Walker DFM (145851) (RAFVR) (Navigator)


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, 166/29/19

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