Personnel Index - Detail
Arthur Collins flew operations during WW2 as a Halifax navigator.......for details of his career, click this link (opens in a new window)
Arthur Collins served with 49 Squadron at RAF Waddington.
Whilst at Waddington, Arthur witnessed the following accident and tragic aftermath......described by his son Roger.
When 6 years old, I witnessed a Avro Lincoln bomber crashing near our married quarter. But even more upsetting a few days later a couple of young boys a little older than me were playing on the wreck and dropped a lighted match into the petrol tanks.
My father and I were taking our Irish Setter for a walk and seeing the explosion we were one of the first on the scene the the two boys had been blown into a hedge and one was dead.
Below is an extract of what happened that day and widely reported at the time:
No. 61 Squadron's Avro Lincoln RF343 whilst landing at RAF Waddington on 3rd September 1952, the No 4 engine was feathered and the pilot-initiated a three engine overshoot which resulted in a bounce which developed into an uncontrollable swing. The aircraft just cleared the NCO Married Quarter estate but the pilot F/O Frank Hercliffe could only get the airspeed to 80 knots in the existing configuration and slewed around and crashed into the airfield's rubbish dump. Two of the eight-man crew, Sgt. Gibbs and F/L Waddicore were injured. Sadly 2 days later a disaster struck when 2 small boys had entered the partially burned Lincoln to play after security guards had been been removed and they managed to set off some pyrotechnics believed to be verey cartridges which ignited the fuel tanks creating a large explosion leading to the death of one of the boys, a pupil from nearby Bracebridge Heath primary school. First on the scene was also a Lincoln navigator, M/Nav Arthur Collins and Roger his 6 year old son who were taking their dog for a walk from their nearby home and shortly thereafter the emergency services arrived but it was too late to save the young boy.
After a 40 year career in the RAF, Arthur retired in 1975.
Here he is seen (RHS) receiving the Queen's Commendation Award.