COLLINSON Maurice

4456733 Private Maurice COLLINSON 1922 – 1943

4456733 Private Maurice Collinson, 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment was killed in action 14 July 1943 and is buried at Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, Italy.  He was 20 years old and is commemorated on Evenwood War Memorial. [1]

 Family Details

 Maurice Collinson was born in 1922, the son of Robert and Alice Collinson.[2]  In 1939, Robert and Alice lived at 7 Brookside, Evenwood and Robert was a coal miner [pony putter].  Maurice was not recorded as living at home. [3] In 1942, Maurice married Joan Arnold at Loughborough, Leicestershire. [4]  Joan Collinson, probably lived at Breedon-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire.[5]

 Service Details [6]

The service details of 4456733 Private Maurice Collinson have not been traced.

COLLINSON Maurice
Parachute Regiment cap badge

September 1941:  The 2nd Parachute Battalion was formed at Hardwick in Derbyshire from volunteers across the Army under Lt. Col. Flavell.  Maurice Collinson initially served with the Durham Light Infantry therefore, it is likely that he volunteered to be transferred to the Parachute Regiment.[7]

Sicily

 10 July 1943:  Following the successful conclusion of the North African Campaign in mid-May, a combined allied force of 160,000 Commonwealth and American troops invaded Sicily as a prelude to the assault on mainland Italy. The Italians, who would shortly make peace with the Allies and re-enter the war on their side, offered little determined resistance but German opposition was vigorous and stubborn. The campaign in Sicily came to an end on 17 August when the two allied forces came together at Messina but failed to cut off the retreating Axis lines.

13 July 1943:  Action involving 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment.

 During the night of 13 July, 1st Parachute Brigade under command of Brigadier C W Lathbury and consisting of 1, 2 and 3 PARA, preceded by the Pathfinders from 21st Independent Company, dropped in Sicily. The objective was to capture the Primosole Bridge spanning the River Simeto. This vital defile covered the approaches to the Catonia Plain, over which the sea-borne invasion forces must pass to advance north.

Fired upon by both the enemy and the Allied invasion fleet the drop was widely scattered. Only 12 officers and 283 airborne soldiers from the 1,856 committed actually reached their rendezvous points. Nevertheless, the bridge was captured by dawn 14 July.

Throughout the day, the 4th German Fallschirmjäger (Parachute) Brigade attacked the weakly held position, from the west and north without success. When they crossed the river to the east and attacked from three directions, the remnants of the Brigade were forced into a small perimeter to the south. It held until the 4th Armoured Brigade arrived from the invasion beaches.

14 July 1943:  Private Maurice Collinson was killed in action.

An attack was made by the 9th Durham Light infantry (DLI) but it was beaten off with considerable cost.

15 July:  at dawn, another attack by the DLI guided by Lt Col A S Pearson, commanding 1 PARA, and supported by the remnants of the Brigade successfully retook the bridge intact. The small Brigade ‘scratch-force’ that managed to reach the objective had lost 27 killed, 78 wounded and several missing.

Burial: Catania War Cemetery, Sicily [8]

 Catania War Cemetery is 7 kilometres south-west of Catania. It contains burials from the later stages of the Sicilian Campaign, from Lentini northwards. Many died in the heavy fighting just short of Catania (the town was taken on 5 August) and in the battle for the Simeto river bridgehead. Catania War Cemetery contains 2,135 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 113 of them unidentified. Private Maurice Collinson is buried at grave reference I.G. 25.

REFERENCES

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1916-2007 Vol.10a p.451 Auckland 1922 Q4

[3] 1939 Register

[4] England & Wales Marriage Index 1916-2005 Vol.7a p.350 Loughborough 1942 Q3

[5] CWGC

[6] http://www.paradata.org.uk/units/2nd-battalion-parachute-regiment-2-para

[7] UK Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945

[8] CWGC & http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2075551