The son of Captain Horace and Alice Collett, Clive Franklyn Collett was educated at Queen's College, Tauranga and completed a course in electrical engineering at Cable's foundry, Wellington. Traveling to England, he received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 1057 on an L. & P. biplane at the L. & P. School, Hendon on 29 January 1915. In February he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps. As a test pilot, he voluntarily jumped from a B.E.2c wearing a parachute. Posted to 70 Squadron as a Sopwith Camel pilot, he scored 12 victories in 1917. 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 drowned in the River Forth when he crashed while flying a captured Albatros. 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
Horowhenua Chronicle, New Zealand, 24 January 1918, Page 4
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
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.
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.)