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D Marsh-Collis

Desmond Marsh-Collis

Des, who died several years ago, had kept not only a wonderful album of photographs, but a copy of a history of 211 Squadron’s operations from 1943 to December 1945.

In 2001, Eveline Marsh-Collis most kindly provided a copy of her late husband’s photo album and a typed transcript of the report, with much help from daughters Jane and Imelda and son-in-law Aidan Simons. In one of those wonderful events that bejewels the modern assemblage of 211 Squadron history, the source of the history so carefully preserved over the years by Des and his family came to light in late 2003.

When Peter Spooner came upon the 211 Squadron website, he recognised the report as his own. With the grace and generosity so characteristic of Squadron members and their families, this part of the Squadron has not only been put to rights, it has been amply embellished, thanks to the help of both families.

The story of the original compiling of the history is now recounted on his own page by Peter Spooner. And for clarity, there is now a separate page for his history of 211 Squadron’s operations in India and Burma.

    The war-time album of Des Marsh-Collis
    Pictures compiled by Aidan from Des’ war-time photo album. There are some much larger versions of these, for example, the footy teams with personnel names. Space limits make it impractical to link them here. Aidan has placed the whole set on his own personal website, which he has very kindly agreed to having listed here: see the
    Sites and Links page.

    Image01t202
    Wilfred, Bob & Charles outside the canteen, Ambala '43 (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Tubby, George, Fowler, Wilfred
    Tubby, George, Fowler, Wilfred (Marsh-Collis collection)
    The Blenheim Mark IV in the background and the Mercury on the engine stand have apparently been reduced to “instructional” status. Bomb-bay doors off, leading edges likewise, and most of the canopy glazing apparently gone.

    After work

    Some of us after work (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Blenheim Mark IV engine Ambala 1943
    Engine lads fixing the engine to the Blenheim Ambala '43 (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Power, Marsh-Collis, Hihglander, Jordan and Roe
    Power Self Highlander Jordan and Roe (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Jim Smith
    Jim Smith (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Arnold, Marsh-Collis, Holloway
    Arnold Self Occy and Holloway (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Ranchi 1943: Temple Hill
    The Temple Hill with 211 Squadron at Ranchi 1943 (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Trev Wilf Tony
    Trev Wilf & Tony (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Bradshaw, Baily, Porteous, Lofty
    Bradshaw, Ging Baily Cliff Porteous & Lofty ? (Marsh-Collis collection)

    A Flt and Station HQ teams
    Winners and Runners Up of 211 Squadron Football League 1944 (Marsh-Collis collection)

    Marsh-Collis
    Unlabelled photo (Marsh-Collis collection)
    [Desmond, relaxed and in freshly pressed best tropicals]

211 Squadron 1946
211 Squadron before disbandment Siam 1946 (RAF official)
Des may be in the 5th row, in forage cap and arms folded, immediately to the right of the nose (Port side). Between
Monty Walters, Ricky Watts and Peter Kent, a number of the aircrew have been identified in this, apparently one of the last, group photographs of the Squadron:

    2nd row, left to right: (1) W/O Ashcroft Nav/W, (2) W/O Ken Jewel Pilot, (3) W/O Ron Kemp Nav/W, (4) possibly Vic Broome Nav/W, (5) W/O Monty Walters Pilot, (6) W/O George Price Nav/W, (7) F/O Steve Catto Pilot, (10) F/Lt AMJ Kent Nav/W (11) probably W/Cdr Harvey, (13) possibly S/Ldr Bruckshaw Pilot, (17) W/O Watling Nav/W, (20) W/O Bill Williams Armaments Officer.

    3rd row: (2) Corporal Fitter E who looked after Monty’s aircraft, (6) possibly W/O Ray Wood Pilot, (14), W/O Ed Webber Nav/W wearing a cheese-cutter hat. Cpl W/Mech Les Ramsay is in the fourth row on the right, immediately to the left of Port propeller with someone’s hand on his shoulders.

Given the small number of aircrew present, it may be that this is the ‘B’ Flight shot of a final set of formal groups (‘A’ Flight, ‘B’ Flight, Squadron). Les Ramsay also kept copies of this photograph and the shots of the Victory Parade inspection below.

    Mountbatten and King of Siam
    Lord Mountbatten and HM King of Siam at the saluting base 19 January 1946 (RAF official)

    Mountbatten and King inspect parade
    Lord Mountbatten and HM King of Siam inspect RAF guard 19 January 1946 (RAF official)

The 19 January 1946 Victory celebrations were well recorded by other Squadron members including Ron Kemp, Les Ramsay and Monty Walters, Tom Taylor taking part in the 12 aircraft formation flypast.

    Chiringa '45 - Beau Beauty
    Bristol Beaufighter M Mother
    M for Mother (Marsh-Collis collection)
    [The Bristol Type 156
    Beaufighter Mark X maintained by Des and his oppo Yorky. M-Mother (more properly, M-Mike at this date) was flown by Alan (Alfie) Wythe DFM with T Wilson as Navigator. There is no serial number visible on the print in Des’ album copy. While the Operations Record Book Form 541 for the Burma period refers to aircraft on operations only by individual letter, not by serial number, it is possible to match daily entries with available individual aircrew Log Books. A search of those to hand (JS Mitchell DFC and EL Wood) shows M Mother to have been Beaufighter X NV526. A colour view of this aircraft (with a spurious serial no) is the subject of an entry at
    http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazine/1998/11/stuff_eng_profile_beau2.htm

    Bristol Beaufighter M Mother
    The Kite Itself (Marsh-Collis collection)

    M Mother & A Wythe DFM
    Alfy Wythe the pilot (Marsh-Collis collection)

    M Mother, Marsh-Collis and Yorky
    Self & Yorky (Marsh-Collis collection)

    India - Madras'45
    Mosquito M Mother, Wilson, Wythe
    Tom Wilson & Alf Wythe DFM (Marsh-Collis collection)
    RF729-M is a
    Mosquito FB MkVI, not a Beaufighter, but it’s still M-Mike!

 

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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 2 Mar 2017. Page created 31 Dec 2001, last updated 31 Jul 2010
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