P/O Collyer was shot down and killed on the 11th of December 1942.
Extract from W R Chorley's Bomber Command Losses
In 1945, before the end of the war, the grave came to the attention of RAF Officers who were in the area. A wreath was laid on the grave and the whole village attended the ceremony.
Note that, at the time of the initial burial in December 1942, the only names identified were Pilot Officers Collyer and Watson.
The cemetery location and headstone.
The initial graves of the crew in Villeneuve-en-Montagne, France.
Whitley BD196 'H' for Harry, 10 O.T.U. (Abingdon) before setting off for Bremen 25th June 1942 (one of the 1000 Bomber raids).
L to R......Pilot, Sgt. Eric George Kendall, four ground crew, Harry Middleton, 'Doc' Watson and 'Pop' Collyer
Photograph dated: 26th June 1942 Abingdon.
R to L: Sgt Eric George Kendall (Pilot), F/Sgt Harry Middleton (WO/AG), Unknown; Rayden Frederick Watson (Bomb Aimer), Pilot Officer Denis R. Collyer (Air Gunner), Flying Officer Jack B. Aris (Navigator).
The others are members of another crew.
Photograph dated: 27th June 1942, Abingdon.
R to L: 'Doc' Watson, Harry Middleton, Jack Aris, 'Pop' Collyer and Eric Kendall plus ground crew member. "4 x 500lb bombs"
This is an earlier Sparke crew in front of Halifax W7777 (with Sgt Dawson as mid upper gunner).
Left to right - unknown (but probably Dawson), Collyer, Aris, Edlington, Sparke, Middleton and Watson.
The photograph was found on a superb French website detailing their loss but unfortunately the address no longer exists.
Click this link for further details from the excellent Yorkshire Aircraft website (opens in a new window)
The memorial at the crashsite.
A plaque unveiled on the wall of the village town hall on the occasion of the 50th anniversary.
Images courtesy of John Ramskill