211 Squadron Badge

Site summary
The author
World War I
Honour Roll
Gallantry awards
Personnel rolls
FEPoW rolls
RAAF personnel
Squadron movements
Squadron records
Squadron markings
Hawker Audax & Hind
Bristol Blenheim I
Bristol Blenheim IV
Blenheim armament
Bristol Beaufighter
de Havilland Mosquito
The Middle East
The Sphere
Across the Styx
The Far East
Sumatra & Java
India & Burma
An airman's album
LW Abbs
W Baird
ART Barnes
RN Bateson
GW Blake
RD Campbell
G Checketts
CFR Clark
WS Close
JDWH Clutterbuck
EF Cole
A Conrad
EL Cooper
WR Cuttiford
G Davies
RJ Dudman
KCVD Dundas
J Dunnet
WH Edwards
AL Farrington
TWS Fisher
JE Fryatt
JR Gordon-Finlayson
G Grierson
WP Griffin
CN Hansford
TD Henderson
LC Hill
GL Hoyes
FC Joerin
JWB Judge
JJ Kavanagh
G Kearns
JB Keeping
AH Kendrick
GM Kendrick
JR Marshall
GH Martin
GA Mockridge
NH Oddie
RW Pearson
JS Robertson
M Sainsbury
JG Sharratt
HF Squire
W Stack
R Wingrove
H Wright
W Wright
Tatoi today
Burma Boys
NA Bolitho
J Carruthers
Alan Carter
RN Dagnall
IAW Gilmore
A Goodinson
MJC Haakenson
RC Kemp
PF Lockyer
JF Luing
G Manderson
D Marsh-Collis
BB Mearns
JS Mitchell
JH Oblein
LE Ramsay
J Robertson
DA Spencer
Peter Spooner
TD Taylor
ME Walters
E Watts
DE Winton
EL Wood
Sites & Links
Do it yourself
Site updates
Site search
Alpha and Omega

D Marsh-Collis

Paul Desmond Marsh-Collis 772100

Des Marsh-Collis, born in Nairobi in 1925, joined the RAF in India at some date after November 1939. He kept not only a wonderful photograph album of his war service in India and Thailand, but a copy of a history of 211 Squadron’s operations from 1943 to December 1945.

Making his home in the United Kingdom post-war, he and Eveline (née Sheerin) married in 1951. They were to have four daughters. Des died in February 1997. In 2001, Eveline Marsh-Collis most kindly provided a copy of her late husband’s photo album and a typed transcript of the Squadron 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 story 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 recounted by the late Peter Spooner on his own page. His history of 211 Squadron’s operations forms the India and Burma page.

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. Although it is impractical to show them here, Aidan placed the whole set on his own personal website which he very kindly agreed to having listed

    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)

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

211 Squadron 1946
211 Squadron before disbandment Siam 1946 (RAF official via Marsh-Collis collection)
Des may be in the 5th row, in forage cap and arms folded, immediately to the right of the nose (Port side). 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) was the subject of an IPMS magazine piece in 1998.

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

    M Mother & A Wythe DFM
    Alfie 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
    F/Sgt Tom Wilson & F/Sgt Alfie Wythe DFM (Marsh-Collis collection)
    RF729-M is a
    Mosquito FB MkVI, not a Beaufighter, but it’s still M-Mike!

Marsh-Collis family correspondence with author
P Spooner correspondence with author
D Marsh-Collis photograph album

Air Ministry Index to Airmen and Airwomen, National Archives UK
AIR 78/103 pt 5 Roll
FreeeBMD records, Marsh-Collis family

www.211squadron.org © D Clark & others 1998—2023
Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 31 Mar 2024. Page created 31 Dec 2001, last updated 31 Jul 2022
Home | Site Summary | Next | Previous | Enquiries | Glossary | Sources | Site links | Do it yourself | Site updates | Site Search