He was a member of the Eglingham branch of a prominent Northumbrian family, the son of Col. Cuthbert Collingwood of the Lancashire Fusiliers, whose family seat was at Lilburn Tower, near Wooler, Northumberland. His great grandfather was a brother of Admiral Lord Collingwood.
Collingwood was educated at the Royal Naval College at Osborne, Isle of Wight and at Dartmouth Royal Naval College and joined the Royal Navy. By arrangement his first service was aboard HMS Collingwood but his naval career was cut short when in 1916 he was invalided out of the Navy following an accidental injury.
In 1918 he enrolled to study mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge. His early academic results were not special and in 1922 he moved to Aberystwyth where he became interested in complex analysis and published a paper relating to Nevanlinnas theory. He was awarded the Rayleigh Prize in 1923 and following the award of the Rouse Ball travelling scholarship in 1925 he spent a year at the Sorbonne.
He returned to Cambridge and was in 1929 awarded a doctorate for a thesis entitled Contributions to the theory of integral functions in finite order. Collingwood left Cambridge in 1937 when he was appointed High Sheriff of Northumberland for that year. He was later appointed Deputy Lieutenant of his home county.
During World War II he served in the RNVR with the rank of Captain and was employed as a naval scientist. In 1945 he was appointed Chief Scientist in the Mine Design department of the Admiralty. For his service he was awarded the CBE.
He returned to mathematics after the war and continued his interest in meromorphic function and in 1949 published his research on the theory of cluster sets.
Collingwood was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1954 and of the Royal Society of London in 1965. He held several professional and civic appointments including President of the London Mathematical Society 1969-70, Chairman of the Council of Durham University from 1953, Chairman of the Newcastle Hospital Board 1953-1968, Vice President of the International Hospital Federation 1959-1967 and Treasurer of the Medical Research Council.
He was knighted in 1962.
He did not marry.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Article by M L Cartwright 2004
- St Andrews University Biographies
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