P/J 95291 Able Seaman Ernest R. COLLYER, Royal Navy, HMT Syringa: 12/08/1940

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Steve49, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. Steve49

    Steve49 Well-Known Member

    12th August 1940

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    COLLYER, Ernest R, Able Seaman, P/J 95291, killed [NEWHAVEN CEMETERY]

    He may have been killed after the minesweeping trawler HMT Syringa was damaged after an air attack. Any ideas if this was indeed the case?

    Regards,

    Steve
     
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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, August 1940
    Monday, August 12, 1940
    Syringa, bombing
    COLLYER, Ernest R, Able Seaman, P/J 95291, killed


    Male, Herbert Gordon (Oral history)
    Object description
    British seaman served aboard HMS Liffey and HMS Syringa, 6th Minesweeping Flotilla, Nore Command in English Channel, 1939-1940;


    This may have been the incident although the months are different
    The courageous 'Boy' who risked his life to support the D-Day invasion
    Boy saw a great deal of action first hand before D-Day. For instance, in September 1940, Syringa was attacked by a JU87 Stuka dive bomber and hit by a bomb, shrapnel and bullets which killed the seaman manning the rear deck Lewis gun.
    The Stuka was shot down.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  3. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Steve,

    TRAWLERS GO TO WAR

    In the Channel the trawler Syringa, commanded by Skipper W. Ritchie, RNR, was sweeping in company with another trawler when they sighted a Junkers 87 flying in at about 3oo feet. Syringa's sister ship challenged and was answered by a burst of machine‑gun fire. She opened with her 12‑pounder and Lewis gun as the plane crossed her quarter and dropped a salvo of bombs on either side.
    Then it was the turn of Syringa. The plane sprayed her bridge and deck with machine‑gun bullets, and dropped two more salvoes, one narrowly missing to starboard, the other to port. The plane then went back. to attack the other trawler, injuring her skipper, after which it returned again to Syringa. Seaman‑Gunner Colyer, at Syringa's Lewis gun, was killed by a burst from the German rear‑gunner as the plane passed over, and a bomb pierced the engine room easing. It crashed down on to the platform on the fore side of the engine but failed to explode. The Junkers circled and returned for a third attack on Syringa, but it seemed to be losing height and dropped down within range of the trawler's 12‑pounder. Two well placed shots sent the German crashing into the sea a mile away.

    30 August 1940 - Sunday Mirror.
    collyer.JPG

    Regards
    Hugh
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. Steve49

    Steve49 Well-Known Member

    Hi Gents,

    Thanks for all that information on the death of a brave man.

    From looking at the list of Ju87 losses in the book 'Stuka attack', it seems that as is often the case in circumstances like this, the claim isn't matched by a loss. Only one Ju87 is listed as being lost during combat on the 12th, this being an aircraft from 12.(St)./LG1, which is credited to Hurricanes of 501 Sqn and crashed in the sea 15 miles east of Ramsgate with both aircrew. The clash is reported as being over a convoy (though over the North Sea, rather than the English Channel), so there does remain the possibility that the trawlers gunners scored hits on an already crippled Stuka.

    Regards,

    Steve
     
  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Looks like usual journalistic accuracy. According to London Gazette the award of the DSM to Ernest Collyer was when he was serving in HMS Liffey his previous ship to Syringa.

    Tim

    Edit: From TD's link. Collyer served HMS Beaver (Liffey) from 4 Jan 40 until May 40.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
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  7. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Yes, Tim, I had no time to check out his DSM but you have to be cautious with regard to newspapers of the time as fact and fiction join together. Come to think about it now has anything changed :)

    Regards
    Hugh
     
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  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    It doesn't change the answers to the original question but does perhaps explain that the 'kill' attributed to Collyer happened on another ship and much earlier than the impression given by the newspaper article.

    Tim
     
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