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Wilfred Ira Collett

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Wilfred Ira AWMM
  • Surname
    Collett AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    34232 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    24 January 1912 RNZAF Biographies (R17845609) Lower HuttWellington RNZAF Biographies (R17845609)
  • Date of birth
    b. 1912 Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 26 June 2023 - NZ BDM Birth Record
  • Place of birth
    Gisborne Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 26 June 2023 - NZ BDM Birth Record
  • Birth notes
    Son of Edgar Arnold and Louise Amy Collett, of Gisborne Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 26 June 2023 - NZ BDM Birth Record
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Mr E.A. Collett (father), Gisborne, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW2 Widow: Mrs. D. W. Collett of Gisborne AWMM
    • WW2 Parents: Mr. & Mrs. E. A. Collett of Gisborne AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Married/WWII AWMM
    • Unknown AWMM Married AWMM
    • 1937 Wilfred COLLETT married Doreen Williamson NICOL Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 26 June 2023 - NZ BDM Marriage Records


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
    Pilot/Military RNZAF Biographies (R17845609)
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Royal Air Force/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Wilfred Collett was the son of Edgar Arnold and Louise Amy Collett, of Gisborne, Auckland, New Zealand; husband of Doreen Williamson Collett, of Gisborne.

    Married at the outbreak of war

    Attended Gisborne High School (Source: RNZAF Biographies (R17845609)) AWMM


About death

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  • Death
    4 August 1940 AWMM
    Age 28 AWMM
    United KingdomEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Feltwell (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Norfolk, England AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    • Official advice of the death of their son, Squadron- Leader Wilfred Ira Collett in operations with the Royal Air Force, has been received by Mr & Mrs E A Collett. Whittaker St Gisborne. Squadron-Leader Collett was at the head of a bombing squadron, & had a splendid record of service in the Western European area of hostilities, having been in the active division of the RAF from the commencement of the war. He was born in Lower Hutt & received his education at the Gisborne Central & High Schools. From his early ’teens he was keenly interested in aviation, & after spending a year or two in the motor business he took up a post with East Coast Airways, in order to secure experience in flying. He trained as a flying member of the Hawke’s Bay Aero Club, under Squadron-Leader T W White, & qualified for his A license in preparation for his entry into the RAF his tutor being Flying-Officer E Olsen. 4 Years in Middle East He proceeded to the UK in June, 1934, & after passing through the routine course of study was commissioned as a pilot-officer. Subsequently he saw 4 years’ service in Egypt & the Middle East, & he was stationed in Egypt when he received a furlough which enabled him to return to NZ 3 years ago. During that furlough he was married to Doreen, 3rd daughter of Mr & Mrs .A J Nicol, Stout street. Gisborne, his bride accompanying him on his return to Egypt. About a year later he was transferred to a depot in the UK. & in the months prior to the outbreak of war he was training with a number of other NZ officers of the RAF for a flight to the Dominion, these officers having been chosen to fly a fleet of Wellington bombers to NZ. The war broke up the plans for this transfer of planes, & both planes & pilots were retained in Britain for war purposes. Kiel, Heligoland & Norway From the declaration of hostilities, Squadron-Leader Collett had been engaged in activities against the enemy & he was one of the NZ pilots who took part in the initial raid on the Kiel Canal Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 26 June 2023 - N.Z. AIR LOSS - continued below
    • Wilhelmshaven. a later air battle near Heligoland, & in lengthy & arduous bombing & reconnaissance work along the coastline of Norway. He was in charge of the bombing raid in which Leading-Aircraftsman J. Langridge, another Gisborne member of the RAF, lost his life 2 months ago. Latterly he had seen equally arduous times over the Lowlands & Northern French battlefields. In letters to his parents, be had made light of the hazards of the service, through which he had come with remarkable good fortune. The deepest sympathy will be offered to his parents, & to his wife & his five-month-old daughter, now in England. Squadron-Leader W. I. Collett's brother, Mr. Ivan Collett, Auckland, has been accepted, for service with the Royal New Zealand An Force, & is to enter upon the Air Force course at an early date. Public - Lorraine Mona - Researcher - 26 June 2023 - GISBORNE HERALD, VOLUME LXVII, ISSUE 20317, 5 AUGUST 1940, PAGE 6
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM
    • Gisborne First World War Memorial, The Esplanade, Kaiti, Gisborne AWMM

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Leave a tribute or memory of Wilfred Ira Collett

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  • Thank you for your courage, bravery and sacrifice. Will be thinking of you on ANZAC day

    Rest in peace

    (direct descendant of your cousin Henry Collett service number 2168)
    Public - Rebecca - Other relative - 20 April 2020



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  • External links
  • References
    • Martyn, E. (1998-2008). For Your Tomorrow (Vols. 1-3). Christchurch, N.Z.: Volplane Press. AWMM
    • The New Zealand Herald AWMM
      New Zealand Herald (?), 6 August 1940. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939 - 1945 (Bound Volumes) - Co - Dy. Archives New Zealand (R17845609) - Former archives reference: AIR118 AWMM
    • Please note that the 12 volumes of the "RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Biographies of Deceased Personnel 1939-1945" held at Archives NZ (formerly known as AIR118) should be used in conjunction with Errol Martyn's "For Your Tomorrow". FYT reflects detailed examination of all of the AIR118 bios which contain many inaccuracies and omissions. AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Personnel Killed or Missing in Various Theatres, 1940 - 1945. [(New Zealanders Attached to R.A.F. [Royal Air Force]) (Officers), (Europe) - Airmen]. Archives New Zealand (R17845744) AWMM
    • List of RNZAF [Royal New Zealand Air Force] Personnel - List of Deceased New Zealanders (Formerly) serving with RAF [Royal Air Force]. Archives New Zealand, Wellington (R17845760). AWMM


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
26 June 2023Lorraine Mona GisborneResearcher
20 April 2020RebeccaEdmonton, CanadaOther relative

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