Aircraftman 1st Class Colin Aveyard, 1028776, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Colin Aveyard, born in Ossett on the 24th September 1912, was the son of Minnie Aveyard and stepson of Ellis Wilson of Ossett. Colin Aveyard married Alice Wilkinson in Ossett in 1936 and they had a son, Keith H. born in 1939.
Colin Aveyard's mother Minnie Ross had married Hubert Aveyard in Ossett in the summer of 1900. Hubert Aveyard died aged 56 in 1926 and his widow Minnie remarried to Ellis Wilson in summer 1938 in Ossett. Ellis Wilson was born in Mirfield in 1885 and worked as a miner at Roundwood colliery.
In September 1939, Colin Aveyard was living at 5, Sunnydale Park, Ossett with his wife Alice. He worked as a motor coach painter/sprayer and was also an A.R.P. Warden. The 1939 Register was continually updated and it shows that Alice re-married on the 20th September 1947 when she married Herbert Wilkinson and became Alice Wilkinson again.
On the 13th September 1942, Wellington L7815 took off at 23:31 hours from RAF Lichfield and carrying 4 x 500 pound GP bombs, was detailed to carry out an attack on Bremen, Germany. Within minutes of lifting off, the port engine began to falter and the crew made an immediate return to base. Tragically, while turning finals, the aircraft spun out of control and crashed. A mere nine minutes had elapsed from the time of their departure. On impact the aircraft became a mass of flames and the crew of five were killed instantly.
The crew of the stricken Wellington L7815 was as follows:
- RAAF 406476 Sgt. W. J. P. Fletcher, Captain (Pilot)
- RAAF 411555 Sgt. J. A. Turnbull, (Observer)
- RAF Sgt. F. W. Lewis, (Air Bomber)
- RAAF 408774 Sgt. J. G. Milne, (Wireless Air Gunner)
- RAF Sgt. F. Thompson, (Air Gunner)
The three RAAF crew members are buried in the Fradley (St Stephens) Churchyard, Staffordshire, UK.
Sgt. Lewis is buried in the Acomb (St Stephen) Churchyard, UK.
Sgt. Thompson is buried in Belfast (Dundonald) Cemetery, UK.
In the aftermath of the accident, a party of RAF ground staff were detailed to mount guard on the wreckage. At 03:20 hours, there was a tremendous explosion and when rescuers reached the scene the found the following casualties, whom were all killed by the bombs exploding on the crashed Wellington bomber:
Corporal Zucker, who is buried in the Hazelrigg Jewish Cemetery, U.K.
LAC Ward, who is buried in the Fradley (St Stephens) Churchyard, U.K.
AC1 Colin Aveyard, who is buried in the Ossett (Holy Trinity) Churchyard, U.K.
AC1 Marten, who is buried in the Prestatyn (Christ Church) Churchyard, U.K.
The "Ossett Observer" had this short obituary for Colin Aveyard:1
"Funeral Of Ossett Airman - Flight Mechanic Aveyard - The funeral of Flight-Mechanic Colin Aveyard (29), of Ingle Dene, Springstone Avenue, Ossett, took place on Saturday afternoon. As we announced last week, Aveyard lost his life as the result of an air crash at midnight on the 13th instant, whilst on active service at his RAF station in the Midlands. He is the son of the late Mr. Herbert Aveyard and Mrs. Ellis Wilson, Teall Street, and his wife is a daughter of the late Mr. William Wilkinson, hairdresser, and Mrs. Wilkinson, 27, Dale Street, Ossett. Educated at Spa Street School, he worked for Shell-Mex Co., and subsequently at the Chas. Roberts's wagon works at Horbury Junction, joining up with the RAF in March 1940. He leaves a widow and three year-old son.
The service on Saturday was conducted by the vicar (the Rev. G.H. Marshall, D.S.O.), the chief mourners being the widow and son; Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Wilson (parents); Mr. Cyril Aveyard (brother); Mr. and Mrs. Joe Aveyard, Mr. and Mrs. Wright Aveyard (brothers and sisters-in-law); Mr. Leonard Ross (step-brother); Mrs. Wilkinson (mother-in-law); Mr. D. Wilkinson and Mr. C. Wilkinson (brothers-in-law); Mr. and Mrs. F. Jowett, Mr. and Mrs. G. Bowers, Mr. and Mrs. F. Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. K. Wilkinson (brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law). There was also a large attendance of neighbours and friends, and an escort from his RAF unit. Many beautiful floral tributes were received, including one from the officers and warrant officers, and one from the rank and file of the unit."
Colin Aveyard died on the 14th September 1942, aged 29 years, and is buried at Holy Trinity Graveyard, Ossett, Row 26, Grave 43. His death was recorded at Lichfield, Staffs.2
1. "Ossett Observer", Saturday, 26th September 1942.