Sergeant John Collingridge - No. 20 Operational Training Unit  


Sergeant John Collingridge - RAFVR


Sergeant John Collingridge was serving as Bomb Aimer on board Wellington 1C HF858 from 20 OTU B Flight on the 28th of January 1943 when it took off from Lossiemouth for a night cross country exercise.  They were carrying eight flash bombs, reconnaissance flares, photo flashes, sea markers and smoke floats. The crew are thought to have ditched in the Moray Firth at approximately 21.45 hours. An empty dinghy was found but no trace of the crew.

The crew consisted of:

 Name  Service Hometown  Age
P/O Peter Denzil O’Donoghue Carey  RAFVR - -
P/O John Birch  RAFVR Co. Galway, Ireland 20
Sgt John Collingridge  RAFVR Leamington Spa, Warwickshire -
Sgt Ralph Credland  RAFVR Billingborough, Lincs. -
Sgt Edward Bala  RAFVR - -

 Sergeant John “Jack” Collingridge  was born on November the 15th 1922, the son of Alfred and Mabel Collingridge of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. His father Alfred was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Horse Artillery in WW1, later changing his birth certificate to enable him to serve in WW2 also. In 1927, Jack’s mother Mabel died and the children were raised by aunts while their father ran a pub. Before the war, Jack lived in the pub (The Clarendon Tavern) in Russell Street, Leamington and then when his father joined the Airforce, Jack moved to his aunt’s house in Quarry Street in Leamington. He worked at Albert Herbert Engineering in Coventry as an apprentice toolmaker (a reserved occupation).  He was the twin brother of Robert (a theatre manager and art dealer) and brother of Joan.

 Jack volunteered for the Air force, receiving his call up papers in September 1941. He reported for duty in London on 29th September 1941 for Aircrew Training, hoping to become a Wireless Operator. In May 1942 he attended class 42J Darr Aerotech Albany, Georgia, USA for training, eventually becoming a Bomb Aimer. In June 1942 he moved to MPO303 at Trenton, Ontario, becoming a Sergeant. Whilst in Hamilton, Ontario, he met his girlfriend Evelyn and was planning to return to her after the war had ended. He completed his training at Lossiemouth and was to lose his life without flying any operations.

The crew are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial. Sergeant Credland is remembered on a private memorial in the church of St.Andrew’s at Billingborough, Lincolnshire.


  Photo courtesy of Joan McGuire (sister) and Paul McGuire (nephew), research by Linda Ibrom.