Born in Sydney, raised and educated in Canberra, Australia, aircraft, aviation and military history were amongst Colin’s early interests that have persisted for many years. Repeated visits to the galleries of the Australian War Memorial, especially the aircraft gallery; attending air shows at RAAF Fairbairn in the 1960s and 70s; reading many of the aviation history classics and watching the epic black and white war movies of the era; along with a steady diet of the likes of ‘Airfix Magazine’ and ‘Air Enthusiast’; combined with an ever growing collection of 1/72nd scale aircraft kits, set the direction for what would come later and a life-long passion for aviation.
Time with the RAAF Air Training Corps during his teenage years, glider course and the then much coveted AirTC Flying Scholarship saw him gain his first set of wings with his Australian Unrestricted Private Pilot’s Licence – he could fly himself anywhere in Australia under Visual Flight Rules, but couldn’t drive himself to the airport. He went on to further flight qualifications and wings before putting his skills and knowledge to work in different parts of the Australian Department of Defence HQ in Canberra including overseas operations and intelligence.
In researching the history of family members in the First and Second World Wars, and trying to sort ‘family myth’ from fact, he started down the path of researching the wartime service of his great-uncle who was a RAAF pilot who served with a RAF Squadron during the Second World War. That led him to researching and writing the history of No.268 Squadron Royal Air Force – ADJIDAUMO ‘Tail-in-Air’, and becoming the Squadron Historian. That of necessity required in-depth and detailed research into an aircraft he already had a great interest in, the North American Mustang, and in particular the Allison engine variants of the Mustang used by No.268 Squadron RAF as its primary operational type from early 1942 until mid-1945.
Colin has been a contributor to many of the major published works on the North American Mustang over the last 20 years; written articles for aviation history magazines; and is a regular contributor on a number of online forums and websites (notably BritModeller and the Allison Engine Mustang Group on Facebook) on anything to do with RAF Allison engine Mustangs. His research in more recent years has expanded to encompass the operations, units, aircraft types and aircrew of the Army Co-operation and Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons of the RAF and related Allied air force squadrons operating in the ETO during WW2.