78 Squadron RAF and M/Nav Arthur Collins

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Roger Byrron-Collins, Aug 16, 2021.

  1. I am the eldest son of Master Navigator Arthur Collins who served 78 squadron on two occasions, the first being on Halifax's at RAF Breighton Yorkshire from 1943 to 1944 and once again on Twin Pioneer's at RAF Khormaksar, Aden from 1959 to 1962. He served for almost 40 years in the Royal Air Force.
    Together with my two sons we had the honour to had been invited by 78 Squadron RAF Benson to attend the 78 Squadron reunion at RAF Breighton Yorkshire on the 4th to 7th June 2010. Interestingly, this was the airfield from which my father left in his Handley Page Halifax LV794 E-YO bomber for Augsburg south Germany on the 24th February 1944 and which he failed to return. On that fateful final flight returning from bombing the MAN diesel factory in Augsburg Germany his aircraft was shot at by a JU88 night fighter and the aircraft caught fire and exploded. It transpired the Luftwaffe pilot was Major Gunther Radusch who engaged the Halifax at a height of 6,500 metres at 00.20 hrs. over the village of Fischbach bei Dahn, Rheinland-Pfalzer in southern Germany. At the date, the aircraft went 'missing' my father had logged up 300.75 hours flying time. My father was blown out of the aircraft but luckily regained his senses just 200 metres before he hit the ground and the rear gunner who also survived, cut him down from his parachute which was stuck in a pine tree. My father's leg was badly injured with bullet holes and shrapnel, so he was pulled to a roadside at the edge of the village and left until a farmer picked him up in the morning. He was taken to a convent hospital and the doctors treated him. The German pilot that shot him down came to visit him in hospital a few days later expressing his regrets at killing some of my father's crew and spoke in perfect English having spent 4 years at Oxford University before the war. When fully recovered, he was transferred to POW camp and returned to the UK on 6th February 1945 a hospital ship Arundle Castle.

    This is link that relate to the incident: 78 Squadron Halifax III LV794 EY-O Flt.Lt. Maurice Carruthers, RAF Breighton, Major G√ľnther Radusch, Fischbach bei Dahn
    and information on 639630 M/Nav Arthur Collins: Arthur Collins Royal Air Force 78 Squadron The Wartime Memories Project
    4jonboy likes this.
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Welcome to the forum Roger.
    Thank you for sharing your father's wonderful story.


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