Valentine Collins

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Valentine St. Barbe Collins
Born (1894-01-02)2 January 1894
Bermuda
Died 2 September 1918(1918-09-02) (aged 24)
France
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
 Royal Air Force
Rank Lieutenant
Unit No. 45 Squadron and No. 48 Squadron Royal Flying Corps
No. 22 Squadron RAF

Lieutenant Valentine St. Barbe Collins (2 January 1894 – 2 September 1918) was a World War I British flying ace credited with ten aerial victories who served with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force.

Background[edit]

Valentine St. Barbe Collins, son of Colonel Charles Bury Collins, CMG DSO (RE), and his wife Etheldred St. Barbe Collins, was born on 2 January 1894 in Bermuda.[1][2][3][4] He studied at Wellington College, built as a national monument to the Duke of Wellington, in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England.[2][5] In June 1916, his father, then a Lieutenant Colonel, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order; however, he died the following year, on 1 March 1917, at or near Dar es Salaam, East Africa.[6][7][8] He was with the Corps of Royal Engineers and part of the East African Expeditionary Force stationed at Quetta in India.[8][9][10]

Military career[edit]

Collins scored all of his victories from a Bristol F.2b, a two-seat biplane

Valentine Collins joined the Royal Flying Corps in October 1916.[11] He served with the RFC Special Reserve.[3] He was posted first to No. 45 Squadron, but was injured on 29 November 1916.[11] In 1917, he served with No. 48 Squadron in France, before his return to France in December 1917.[4][11] After 1 April 1918 merger of the Royal Flying Corps with the Royal Naval Air Service, he served with No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Air Force.[12] Lieutenant Collins is credited with ten aerial victories, all as an observer.[4][11] The first three were with No. 48 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps and the next seven were with No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Collins scored all of his victories from a Bristol F.2b, a two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, also known as a Bristol Fighter.[13]

Each of his first three scores was against an Albatros D.V, from his Bristol F.2b piloted by Australian Second Lieutenant William Dowling Bostock. Pilot Bostock went on to become Air Vice Marshal, a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force, by the onset of World War II.[14][15] Collins' first victory occurred on 4 September 1917 from his Bristol F.2b with serial number A7224, piloted by Bostock. His opponent's aircraft was sent out of control over Middelkerke and Ostend, both in West Flanders, Belgium. On 27 September 1917, Collins scored a double victory over Pervijze, West Flanders, again in a Bristol Fighter piloted by Bostock. One opponent's Albatros D.V was destroyed, and 15 minutes later another's was sent out of control.[4]

Collins did not have another kill until June of the next year, as a member of No. 22 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. On 28 June 1918, his Bristol F.2b (C989) piloted by Lieutenant Frank George Gibbons, a flying ace credited with 14 aerial victories, destroyed a Fokker Dr.I, a single-seat triplane fighter, north of Estaires, Nord, France.[16] The following month, on 10 July 1918, the same Bristol Fighter piloted by Gibbons sent another Fokker Dr.I out of control over Lille, Nord, France.[4]

All of the aviator's remaining five victories were in aircraft piloted by Lieutenant Leslie Walter King, a flying ace credited with nine aerial victories.[4][17] On 8 August 1918, Collins scored his sixth victory, from Bristol F.2b (D7894) piloted by King, when a Pfalz D.III was sent out of control south of Douai, Nord, France. Two days later, from the same Bristol Fighter piloted by King, Collins destroyed two Fokker D.VII aircraft southwest of Péronne, France. On 21 August 1918, Collins scored his ninth victory over Albert and Cambrai, Nord, France. His Bristol F.2b (E2454) piloted again by King sent a Fokker D.VII out of control. His tenth and last victory occurred on 27 August 1918. His Bristol F.2b piloted by Lieutenant King defeated a Fokker D.VII which was sent out of control over Senlemont.[4]

Death[edit]

Lieutenant Valentine St. Barbe Collins was killed in action at age 24 on 2 September 1918 in France.[11][18][19] He is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial at the Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery on the Boulevard du General de Gaulle in Arras, Pas-de-Calais, France.[3][20] Killed with him was Captain Brian Laidley Dowling from Sydney, Australia, who was piloting D7790.[11] He is commemorated on the same memorial.[21]

Gallery of aeroplanes downed[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Collins, Valentine. "1901 England Census". ancestry.com. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. The National Archives, 1901 (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  2. ^ a b Collins, Valentine St Barbe. "1911 England Census". ancestry.com. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. The National Archives of the UK, 1911 (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  3. ^ a b c Collins, Valentine St. Barbe. "Casualty details". cwgc.org. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Collins, Valentine. "Aces". theaerodrome.com. The Aerodrome. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "History". wellingtoncollege.org.uk. Wellington College. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Collins, R.E., Lt.-Col. Charles Bury (30 June 1916). "The Edinburgh Gazette". The Edinburgh Gazette. p. 1183. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Collins, Charles Bury. "UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914–1919". ancestry.com. British and Irish Military Databases. The Naval and Military Press Ltd. (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  8. ^ a b Collins, Charles Bury. "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861–1941". ancestry.com. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. Principal Probate Registry (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  9. ^ Collins, Charles Bury. "England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790–1976". ancestry.com. Andrews Collection. Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  10. ^ Collins, Charles Bury. "British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914–1920". ancestry.com. WWI Medal Index Cards. Army Medal Office (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Norman Franks; Russell Guest; Gregory Alegi (1997). "Two-seat Fighter Observer Aces". Above The War Fronts. Grub Street. p. 10. ISBN 1-898697-56-6. 
  12. ^ Collins, Valentine St. Barbe. "Information". twgpp.org. The War Graves Photographic Project. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Bristol F.2b Fighter. "Aircraft". theaerodrome.com. The Aerodrome. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  14. ^ Garrisson, A. D. "Bostock, William Dowling (1892–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography Online. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Bostock, CB, DSO, OBE, Air Vice Marshal William Dowling. "People profiles". awm.gov.au. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Gibbons, Frank. "Aces". theaerodrome.com. The Aerodrome. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  17. ^ King, Leslie. "Aces". theaerodrome.com. The Aerodrome. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Collins, Valentine St. Barbe (14 January 1921). "The London Gazette". The London Gazette. p. 417. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Collins, Valentine St Barbe. "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861–1941". ancestry.com. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. Principal Probate Registry (as re-printed on Ancestry.com). 
  20. ^ Collins, Lieutenant Valentine St. Barbe. "Burial Record". findagrave.com. International Wargraves Photography Project, hosted on Find A Grave. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  21. ^ Dowling, Captain Brian Laidley. "Burial Record". findagrave.com. International Wargraves Photography Project, hosted on Find A Grave. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 

External links[edit]