Charles Collet

Charles Collet
Charles Herbert Collet
Born 4 February 1888(1888-02-04)
Calcutta, India
Died 19 August 1915(1915-08-19) (aged 27)
Imbros, Greece
Service/branch Royal Naval Air Service
Years of service 1905–1915
Rank Flight Commander
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Order

Charles Herbert Collet DSO (4 February 1888 - 19 August 1915), was a British Naval airman during the First World War, regarded as one of the best Naval airmen of his day.[1]



Charles Collet was born in India in around 1888, the son of an engineer James Francis Herbert Collet and his wife Teresa Collet (née Pilley). For a time the family lived on Guernsey. At the time of his death, Charles Collet's parents lived in Woodleigh, West End, Southampton.[2] He was educated at Dulwich College.[3]

C H Collet during World War I

Düsseldorf Air Raid, September 1914

On 22 September 1914, Flight Lieutenant Collet flew two hundred miles to Düsseldorf and bombed the Zeppelin shed there. Despite being hit, he returned safely.[4] For this act he received the Distinguished Service Order.[1]

Collet's feat was described by Frederick A. Talbot:

Flight Lieutenant Collet approached the Zeppelin shed at Düsseldorf at an altitude of 6,000 feet. There was a bank of mist below, which he encountered at 1,500 feet. He traversed the depth of this layer and emerged therefrom at a height of only 400 feet above the ground. His objective was barely a quarter of a mile ahead. Travelling at high speed he launched his bombs with what proved to be deadly precision, and disappeared into cover almost before the enemy had grasped his intentions.[5]

Other notable achievements

Collet was also the first Naval officer to loop the loop.[6] He was promoted Captain in his secondary regiment, the Royal Marine Artillery.[2][6] Apart from the Distinguished Service Order, he was also twice mentioned in despatches.[2] He achieved the rank of Flight Commander in the Royal Naval Air Service before his death.


Collet died in an aircraft accident on Imbros on 19 August 1915 and is buried at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery in Turkey.[2]

Further reading

  • Flight-Lieutenant Collet's Daring: The Bomb-Dropper's Weapon; and Objectives of the British Aerial Raid into Germany, in The Illustrated War News, 30 September 1914, p. 22
  • John William Ransom Taylor, Air Facts and Feats (Two Continents Publishing Group, 1974)


  1. ^ a b Edmund Burke (editor), (1916), Annual Register, page 162, (Rivingtons)
  2. ^ a b c d Commonwealth War Graves Commission COLLET, CHARLES HERBERT
  3. ^ Hodges, S, (1981), God's Gift: A Living History of Dulwich College, page 100, (Heinemann: London)
  4. ^ Captain Logan Howard-Smith, (2005) Thrilling Stories of the Great War: Heroic Incidents and Startling Events of the World War on Land and Sea in the Air and Under the Water, page 121, (Kessinger Publishing)
  5. ^ Frederick A. Talbot, (1997), Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War, Chapter X page 40, (The World Wide School: Seattle)
  6. ^ a b H.V. Hodson (editor), (1916), The Annual Register, page 162, (Longmans)

External links

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