In Memory of FRANK COLLINS - Dad - Grandpa and Great Grandpa

March 1923 - November 2008

His Memoirs: (Written in 1998 approx): Web Page PDF Document (Right click to save)
David's Tribute to Dad: (Read at the funeral) Web Page PDF Document (Right click to save)
Résumé of Franks Life: (Rev. Paul Tarrant) Web Page PDF Document (Right click to save)
Dad's interview for the Imperial War Museum archive, recorded in June 1998:
Reel 1 of 3 (MP3 format - 26 MB - 28 mins long)

Click HERE to play or download this file.

Dad mentions at the start of this recording that he attended the Salesian Collage; this is incorrect, he should have said Reading Collegiate.

Reel 2 of 3 (MP3 format - 26 MB - 27 mins long)

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Reel 3 of 3 (MP3 format - 10 MB - 11 mins long)

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Imperial War Museum entry regarding the above recordings:


MAKER: Collins, Frank Cecil

OBJECT TYPE: IWM interview



British aircraftman served as wireless operator with RAF in GB, 1941-1944 and with 589A Mobile Signals Unit, 83 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force in North West Europe, 1944-1945REEL 1 Background in Winnesh, Berks, 1923-1939: family and education; employment in wholesale meat trade. Reaction to declaration of Second World War, 3/9/1939. Recollections of period as civilian in Berkshire, 1939-1940: bomb incident when he was blown out of bed, ca 1940; membership of Spencer's Wood Local Defence Volunteer unit including patrolling with pick-axe handles; attitude that war should continue after 6/1944; effect of Churchill's and Lord Haw Haw's radio broadcasts. Volunteering for RAF, 1941. Recollections of signals training with RAF in GB, 1941-1944: issue of kit at RAF Padgate; morse training in Blackpool; meeting ATS wife in ballroom in Blackpool; relationship between young men and women during Second World War; transfer of some trainees from wireless operator training to code and cipher work; training with 1 Signal School, Compton Basset; work giving direction finding data to pilots at RAF Fairwood Common; nature of direction finding work; posting to mobile signals unit, Buckhurst Hill ca 1943. Period with 589 A Mobile Signals Unit, 83 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force in GB, 1943-1944: equipment and purpose of mobile signal units; move to Gatton Park, Surrey. REEL 2 Continues: composition of unit; use of Type X machines for coding; need to listen through interference; waterproofing of vehicles in preparations for beach landing , Salisbury Plain, spring 1944. Recollections of period with 589 A Mobile Signals Unit in North West Europe, 1944-1945: crossing in LCT to Normandy beaches; method of disembarking from LCT; initial basing of unit in Creuilly, 6/1944; homing in of German aircraft on unit's transmitters; role of unit at Creuilly, summer 1944; lack of contact with civilians; reaction to sight of German tankman on fire in Falaise, 8/1944; story of how incompetent map reading landed unit amongst German soldiers; keeping on air during rapid advance into Low Countries; relationship between British troops and Dutch civilians, winter, 1944-1945; liberation of Brussels, 9/1944; billeting of unit in Montessori school, Eindhoven, winter 1944; memories of Eric Sykes and Bill Fraser; devastated state of Hamburg, spring 1945. REEL 3 Continues: non- fraternisation orders; reaction to devastated nature of Hamburg; sailing instructions by German Air Force officer in Schleswig. Attitude to having served in Second World War. Problems returning to civilian employment, 1946. Teleprinter operator work in GB, 1945-1946. Political attitudes during General Election, 6/1945 including reasons for voting Labour.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Air Operations 1939-1945: North West Europe, 1939-1945