Soham Grammarians - Bernard Collen DFM

Soham Grammarian Summer 1951

Flight Sergeant Bernard Collen was recently awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal for his skill during a flying operation in Malaya.

The London Gazette citation describes how during a take-off with a full bomb load F/Sgt. Collen's No. 2 engine failed, but through his skill and courage he was not only able to remain airborne but to join his squadron formation and bomb as briefed.

The citation said, "By his excellent example he has set a very high standard of efficiency admired by all other members of his squadron."

F/Sgt Collen joined the R.A.F. after leaving School at the outbreak of war. He has been married over a year and now lives in Dunston, Yorks.


THE LONDON GAZETTE, 16 MARCH, 1951 page 1443

Air Ministry, 16th March, 1951

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of distinguished service in Malaya: -

Distinguished Flying Medal

1624916 Flight Sergeant Bernard COLLEN, Royal Air Force.

Soham Grammarian Summer 1961


Congratulations to Flying Officer Bernard Collen DFM, formerly of Stuntney. F/O Collen joined the RAF in 1942 after being in the ATC Squadron at SGS. He won his DFM for an action during the Malaya Campaign.

Bernard Collen lived in Stuntney and left Stuntney School at 14. He was great friends with Eddie Fretwell and together they joined the ATC at Soham. He received a lot of encouragement from Stanley Stubbs and succeeded in his ATC exams. Eddie was killed on operations. Bernard retired from the RAF in 1973 and now lives in Norfolk. He would be pleased to hear from anyone who remembers him from his ATC days at Soham, or from Stuntney.

link: 100 Squadron Royal Air Force Association

If you can add to this page or wish to contact Bernard please contact the editor
last update 14 Dec 2007