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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Joseph Beemer Collver

In memory of:

Flying Officer Joseph Beemer Collver

July 29, 1944

Military Service


Service Number:

J/25297

Age:

19

Force:

Air Force

Unit:

Royal Canadian Air Force

Division:

431 Sqdn.

Additional Information


Son of Hugh Ross Collver and Helen Collver, of Fort William, Ontario, Canada. King's Scout.

Commemorated on Page 277 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
Surrey, United Kingdom

Grave Reference:

Panel 245.

Location:

During the Second World War more than 116,000 men and women of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth gave their lives in service. More than 17,000 of these were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, or Canadians serving with the Royal Air Force. Approximately one-third of all who died have no known grave. Of these, 20,450 are commemorated by name on the Runnymede Memorial, which is situated at Englefield Green, near Egham, 32 kilometers by road west of London.

The design of the Runnymede Memorial is original and striking. On the crest of Cooper's Hill, overlooking the Thames, a square tower dominates a cloister, in the centre of which rests the Stone of Remembrance. The cloistered walks terminate in two lookouts, one facing towards Windsor, and the other towards London Airport at Heathrow. The names of the dead are inscribed on the stone reveals of the narrow windows in the cloisters and the lookouts. They include those of 3,050 Canadian airmen. Above the three-arched entrance to the cloister is a great stone eagle with the Royal Air Force motto, Per Ardua ad Astra". On each side is the inscription:

IN THIS CLOISTER ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF TWENTY THOUSAND AIRMEN WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE. THEY DIED FOR FREEDOM IN RAID AND SORTIE OVER THE BRITISH ISLES AND THE LANDS AND SEAS OF NORTHERN AND WESTERN EUROPE

In the tower a vaulted shrine, which provides a quiet place for contemplation, contains illuminated verses by Paul H. Scott."

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

  • Memorial– This pew at Wesley United Church, 130 Brodie Street North, Thunder Bay, ON   was dedicated to the memory of F/O Joe B. Collver by the Collver family. F/O Collver died on 29 July 1944 and is buried in the Runnymede Memorial Cemetery in Surrey, United Kingdom.
  • Memorial– Father J P Lardie's comments as inscribed on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Flying Officer Joseph Beemer Collver is also commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Flying Officer Joseph Beemer Collver is also commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Photo of Joseph Beemer Collver– Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of Joseph Beemer Collver– Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– From the Toronto Star August 1943. Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of Joseph Collver– The crew on aboard Halifax MZ589 was lost during an operation to Hamburg. Six Canadian airmen were lost, Joseph Collver, Robert Leman, Norman Bailey, Matthew MacFarlane, Norman Jermey and William Sorel.

Submitted by Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of Joseph Collver
  • Runnymeade Memorial– Photo of Runnymede Memorial (CWGC)
Halifax aircraft MZ589 was one of 17 from 431 Squadron sent on a raid to Hamburg on  July 28/29, 1944.  A total of 186 Halifaxes and 46 Lancasters from RCAF Bomber Command 6 Group participated in the raid, which resulted in the heavy loss of 22 aircraft.  Tragically 134 aircrew were killed, with 29 taken Prisoners of War.   431 Squadron suffered the heaviest loss:   5 crews with 28 airmen killed and 7 taken PoWs.
Pilot, F/O COLLVER, was only 19 yrs of age, as was Air gunner P/O Norman JERMEY from Orillia, Ont.  The other crew members were: 
P/O (WAG) Wm. G. SORE, age 21, from Nakina, ON
F/O (BA) Matthew MacFARLANE, age 21,  from Vancouver.
P/O (AG) Robt. A. LEMAN, age 21, from Muirhead, AB.
F/O (AG) Norman BAILEY, age 22, from Georgetown, ON.
No trace of the aircraft and crew were found. Their names are inscribed on the Runnymede Memorial for those with no known grave.
[Crew information from They Shall Grow Not Old, Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Brandon, Manitoba; operation detail from www.rcaf.com/6group]
  • Biography– Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me

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