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Thread: LAC Leslie Collins RAF Killed - GPO Engineering May 1944 any information re his Duty?

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    Default LAC Leslie Collins RAF Killed - GPO Engineering May 1944 any information re his Duty?

    Inquest at Honiton

    GPO Engineering Van crashed at Wingate Hill, Combe Raleigh on Friday [5 May 1944], 4 killed, including Ldg Acm Leslie Collins (37) RAF of 10 Pound Street, Exmouth.

    http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/ca...LINS,%20LESLIE

    Any information regarding his Duty, please?

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 5th July 2015 at 10:39.

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    Just a few thoughts as to what Collins might have been doing. Was he actually in the GPO Engs van? Honiton was probably a minor GPO switching centre (there were many military units in the area). The US Navy was at Dunkeswell at the time. The US were very wary of 'civilians' regardless of their technical abilities. The GPO Eng might well have been on the way to some fault at Dunkeswell? Collins (who was probably a comms man as well) was likely accompanying the GPO Eng as his "military minder"??

    Well, it all fits, and is plausible, from what little we know!! Anybody got any better??? Good game!! But as Lyffe has complained often, I get carried away by these flights of fancy in stead of concentrating on the real task at hand!! LOL!

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    A bit more information on the accident and the victims:

    The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of June 23rd 1944 reports on the inquest into the accident. The GPO van seems to have suffered a mechanical failure, and crashed into back of a lorry owned by Stopgate Service Station. The report states that the four victims were in the back of this lorry (not the GPO van) and were passengers on their way home. The other victims were a plumber and two council labourers, and five other passengers in the lorry were injured.

    The jury found that the driver of the GPO van was to blame due to gross negligence, but the coroner disagreed, but recorded the verdict notwithstanding.

    Regards

    Simon

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    ME, Peter? Never.

    Just a thought, though; Mark's post does not say he was in the van, but killed in an accident involving the van. Since there were four killed he might well have been one of a number of pedestrians hit by the vehicle. There appear to be some pretty steep gradients in the area. I'm unable to find a Wingate Hill (not that that means much), but there is a Windgate Farm at 50d 49m 39.83s N 03d 12m 18.97s W (Google Earth).

    It might be he was on leave.

    Brian

    Edit. You beat me to it Simon - but a far more useful reply.
    Last edited by Lyffe; 5th July 2015 at 15:05.

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    I think you're post just missed mine - you're right Brian, the victims were in the back of the lorry that the GPO van crashed into.

    Simon

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    Hello All

    Thank you.

    The GPO van driver had tried to change down to third gear at the top of Wingate Hill, but gear would not engage. The foot brake and handbrake on the GPO van failed when he applied them. Afterward, it was noticed that the GPO vehicle prop-shaft had come away due to a fracture and claimed to have damaged the brakes.

    The GPO driver said speed had picked up and he shouted a warning to the people in the back of his lorry. The Jury felt he should have run his GPO vehicle against a side bank early on, but the driver said he feared for the safety of his own rear passengers.

    The Inquest was adjourned to allow the material witnesses to get better and according to the newspaper report of the adjournment Leslie Collins was in the rear of the front lorry. The Collins had separate Legal representation.

    Tragically, LAC Leslie Collins RAF and Joan Collins had recently had a son 20 April 1944 born at Yeovil Maternity Home, announced in the paper the day Leslie was killed.

    If someone comes across LAC Leslie Collins mentioned in a May 1944 ORB, please let me know?

    Thanks Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 6th July 2015 at 08:42.

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