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Today in History

Name: Clive Franklyn Collett
Military Cross (MC) and Bar Clive Collett
Country: New Zealand
Rank: Captain
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Units: 18, 70
Victories: 12
Born: 28 August 1886
Place of Birth: Spring Creek, Marlborough, New Zealand
Died: 23 December 1917 Killed In Flying Accident
Place of Death: Firth of Forth, Scotland
Cemetery: Edinburgh (Comely Bank) Cemetery, Edinburgh, Scotland
An electrical engineer, Clive Franklyn Collett enlisted in 1915. A test pilot for the Royal Flying Corps, he voluntarily jumped from a B.E.2c wearing a parachute. According to James McCudden, Collett "used to come back shot to ribbons nearly every time he went out. One day he drove a German machine down to the ground behind the German lines, and then to make quite sure he fired at it on the ground until it burst into flames. Collett was always for downing the Hun, whenever and wherever he could find him." Collett was killed in a crash while flying a captured Albatros over the Firth of Forth. McCudden believed "something flew off the bonnet of the engine and stunned him, for he was seen to dive straight into the water without attempting to recover himself."
New Zealand Herald, Volume LXI, Issue 18840, 15 October 1924, Page 10
Military Cross (MC)
Lt. (T./Capt.) Clive Franklyn Collett, R.F.C. Spec. Res.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as a leader of offensive patrols during a period of three weeks. He has on numerous occasions attacked large formations of enemy aircraft single-handed, destroyed some, and driven others down out of control. He has led his formation with great skill, and has on several occasions extricated them from most difficult positions, and in every engagement his gallantry and dash have been most marked.
Military Cross (MC) Bar
Lt. (T./Capt.) Clive Franklyn Collett, M.C., R.F.C., Spec. Res. & Gen. List.
   For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in leading offensive patrols against enemy aircraft. Within a period of three weeks he successfully engaged and destroyed five enemy machines (three of them in one day), attacking them from low altitudes with the greatest dash and determination. His brilliant example was a continual source of inspiration to the squadron in which he served.
   (M.C. gazetted 26th September, 1917.)
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 27 Jul 1917 2045 70 Sopwith Camel (B3756) Albatros D.V (DES) Ypres
2 05 Aug 1917 1945 70 Sopwith Camel (B3768) Albatros D.V (OOC) Roulers-Bixschoote
3 10 Aug 1917 2005 70 Sopwith Camel (B3768) Albatros D.V (DES) NE of Polygon Wood
4 13 Aug 1917 1945 70 Sopwith Camel (B3889) C (DES) NW of Dixmude
5 13 Aug 1917 2005 70 Sopwith Camel (B3889) Albatros D.V (DES) N of Thorout
6 18 Aug 1917 1940 70 Sopwith Camel (B3889) Albatros D.V (DES) E of Gheluvelt
7 22 Aug 1917 0850 70 Sopwith Camel (B3889) Albatros D.V (OOC) Gheluwe
8 25 Aug 1917 1925 70 Sopwith Camel (B3889) EA (OOC) Gheluwe
9 05 Sep 1917 1845 70 Sopwith Camel (B6234) Albatros D.V (DES) Roulers
10 09 Sep 1917 1705 70 Sopwith Camel (B2341) C (OOC) Gheluvelt
11 09 Sep 1917 1725 70 Sopwith Camel (B2341) C (DES) NE of Houthoulst Wood
12 09 Sep 1917 1750 70 Sopwith Camel (B2341) Albatros D.V (DES) NE of Houthoulst Wood
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