Stretford WW2 

Frederick Henry Collins

Rank:Sub-Lieutenant (E)
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Name of Rgt or Ship:H.M.S. Suffolk
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:U.K.Grave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery
Town Memorial:Not Listed
Extra Information:
Born during the September quarter 1917 in the Chorlton R.D. - ref: 8c/930,
the son of Frerick Henry & Hilda Mary Collins (nee Henson).

M-V Memorial Book - "Joined the Metro-Vicker's Company as a Probationary
College Apprentice in November 1934 and returned as a College Apprentice in
September 1938.   Joined the RNVR as a Sub-Lieutenant (E) in September
1939.    KinA at Stavanger in May 1940."  (April actually).  Bachelor of
Science (Hons).

Married - Nora Conwell during the March quarter 1940 in the Manchester R.D.
- ref: 8d/534.

Killed in attack on Sola Air Station, Stavenger, Norway. His ship, HMS
Suffolk, a Kent Class Heavy Cruiser, that was bombed and severely damaged
when her X-turret’s magazine exploded.  Frederick was killed in the After
Engine Room, one of 32 killed that day, with their bodies being taken back
to Lyness for burial.  He was the only officer killed, but he was an
Engineer Officer, the others were marines, stokers, and engine room

His will was probated at Liverpool 21 August 1940 to Norah Collins, widow 
Effects £ 138 2s. 1d.  Address given was 7 Chatsworth-grove, Whalley
Range, Manchester. Died 17 Apr 1940 at sea. Effects in Northern Ireland
£526  18s.  Resealed Belfast 8 Nov 1940.

M.I. - "Defend me O' God witth thy heavenly grace, that I may continue
thine for ever".

From the Naval History Website - BRITISH ADMIRALTY REPORTS of WORLD WAR 2 -
OF HMS SUFFOLK 17 APRIL 1940.  CAPTAIN'S REPORT.  Transcribed by Don

On the 17th April 1940, HMS Suffolk met HM Submarine SEAL which had acted a
navigational Beacon off Stavanger.  Part of Operation DUCK it bombarded
Stavanger airfield.   It was then deployed to intercept a force of German
destroyers and came under heavy air attacks for several hours - 33
individual attacks were counted.   88 near misses were recorded, with one
direct hit that sustained major damage aft, disabling the ship's steering

Extensive flooding and fire resulted and speed was reduced to 18 knots.  
Arranged air cover did not arrive and left the ship without any protection
from expected air attacks.    It returned to Scapa Flow steering by engines
and with its quarterdeck awash.  It was beached at Scapa Flow as there was
concern that she might sink in the horbour.   A temporary repair was
carried out at Scapa Flow, before she saile to Greenock for repair.

30. At 0704, no air escort had been sighted. The Force was turned to the
Northward to comply with Admiralty instructions to intercept enemy
destroyers, speed being reduced to 25 knots to conserve fuel. At 0720, a
report was made to the Admiralty that Operation DUCK had been completed,
the course, speed, and position of the Force being given and repeated to
the Commander in Chief, Rosyth, for the information of fighter escorts as
well to the Senior Officers concerned in the new operation. 

31. At 0810, fire was opened on enemy aircraft seen to be in a position to
attack. The first attack took place at 0825 when an emergency air attack
report was made. From then on, the ship was under continuous attack from
High Level and Dive Bombing for 6 hours and 47 minutes. Details of each
attack are forwarded as enclosure No. 1 to this report, positions of the
air attacks being number and shown on the general track charge. From the
commencement of the bombing, I had to keep the ship almost continuously
under full rudder to avoid being hit and it was only on very occasions that
a steady course could be maintained. 

32. At 0934, I reported being attacked persistently by high and low bombing
and at 0938, in view of the intensity of the attacks and that no air
support had arrived, I decided to withdraw the Force at best speed to the
Westward, thus officering the best chance of obtaining air support as early
as possible and avoiding being hit, which seemed to be ultimately

33. At 1037, H.M.S. SUFFOLK was hit by a heavy bomb from a steep dive
bomber on the starboard side of the upper deck just for'ard of 'X' turret.
The bomber approached down sun and was expected to make a High Level
attack. The ship was brought beam on to meet this attack, but on reaching
an angle of sight of 65 to 70 degrees, at a height of about 10,000 feet,
the aircraft dived on the ship releasing the bomb at an estimated heighted
of from 4 to 5 thousand feet. The weight of the bomb is estimated at 500
kilos. Details of the damage sustained, action taken to keep the ship
steaming and steering, the conspicuous services rendered by Officers and
men, both on deck and below deck to achieve this end, will form the subject
of enclosure No. 8 to this report. 

34. The bomb passed through the Ward Room, Warrant Officers' Flag, and
storerooms on to the Platform Deck, from starboard to port, and exploded in
the inflammable store close to the Bulkhead of the After Engine Room. The
effect of this explosion penetrated forwarded to the After Engine Room, and
aft, through 'X' Shell Room to 'X' Cordite Handing Room. 

It is believed that a charge exploded in the Cordite Handing Room which
penetrated the Cordite Hoist Trunk and vented into 'X' Gunhouse. The empty
cordite cage at the top of the hoist was broken and the charge in the Right
Traversing Rammer caught fire. The roof of the Turret was lifted. 'X' shell
handing room and all Oil Fuel Tanks in the vicinity of the explosion were
holed. The bulkhead of the After Engine Room was blown in, the Engine Room
seriously damaged and flooded, and the force of the explosion vented up
through the Engine Room Exhaust Trunks and up the hatches leading to the
War Room Flat. 

A column of flame was seen to reach the height of the gaff on the main mast
destroying the ensign. Fires started in the Ward Room Flat, the Warrant
Officers' Flat, and the Storerooms underneath, and in the entrance to the
Officers' Galleys. 

The second W/T Office and the After Gyro Compass Room was wrecked. The Main
W/T Office was unable to transmit as a result of the blast. The After 8
inch Magazine had to be flooded. About 1,500 tons of water entered the ship
in about 20 minutes. 

35. The immediate effect on the ship's fighting efficiency was a reduction
of maximum speed to about 18 knots, 'X' and 'Y' turrets out of action and
Main and Second W/T Offices out of action. A considerable volume of water
had entered the ship aft. Signals had to be passed by V/S to KIPLING for

36. At 1042, 1046, and 1052, I asked for fighters giving the position. At
1050, H.M.S. JANUS also reported that SUFFOLK had been hit giving the
position. At 1102, I reported that the ship was heavily damaged, speed
reduced to 18 knots, and that more air attacks were expected.

48. I regret to report that, as a result of the explosion and continuous
air attacks, a casualty list of 32 killed and 38 injured was sustained.

The majority of the casualties occurred in the After Engine Room, 'X' Shell
Room, Shell Handing Room, Cordite Handing Room, 'X' Gunhouse and numbers 8
and 9 Fire Parties.

Memorials found on:
Metro-Vickers (Trafford Park)
Manchester University
Manchester Technical College
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