COLLINS, PATRICK E., First Lieutenant, # 0-690371, USAAF
Patrick E. Collins was born in 1921 in Lawrence, Essex Co., Massachusetts, to John J. Collins (1871-1926/30) (born Ireland – immigrated 1890 – naturalized 1895) and Mary E. (Sheehy) Collins (1884- ) (born Ireland – immigrated 1901 – naturalized) (widowed in 1930). Siblings included Anna Theresa Collins (1909-1984), John James Collins (1911-1998), Thomas B. Collins (1914- ), Mary Collins (1915- ), and Helen Regina Collins (1925- ). In 1910 & 1920, his father worked as a boiler (steam) maker. Mary E. (Sheehy) Collins’ brother, Thomas Sheehy (1890- ) lived with them in 1910. Another brother, James Sheehy (1893- ) lived with them in 1920.
After enlisting, he was trained as a bombardier for the B-29 Superfortress. He was sent overseas to 20th Air Force, India, then to an advance airfield in China. On 7 December 1944, B-29, # 42-6390, “Gallopin’ Goose,” assigned to 20th Air Force, 468th Bomb Group, 794th Bomb Squadron, departed the airfield at Pengshan, China, on a bombing mission of the enemy iron works at Mukden, Manchria. It was last seen at 0210 Zulu over the target. Enemy fighter collided with B-29, 42-6390, over the target. SSgt. William Wooten, a gunner in another B-29, reported: The enemy fighter came at them and Wooten fired at it at about 400 yards. The fighter’s right engine started smoking and burning. Wooten saw the canopy fly off. It started down then pulled up and slipped under B-29 # 42-6390 and hit the left horizontal and vertical stabilizer and the parts broke away. Wooten saw one parachute come out of 42-6390 before it crashed. Japanese pilot Sergeant Shinobu Ikeda intentionally rammed 42-6390. He was able to bail out and survived. TSgt Arnold G. Pope managed to bail out and was the sole survivor. He saw the B-29 crash and saw no other parachutes. A typed report stated “Mukden aircraft factory receives another barrage from B-29s, who made a daylight attack on 7 Dec 1944. Superfortresses met their greatest aerial opposition on this mission, destroyed 26 Jap fighters, probably destroyed 13 more and damaged 24. Mukden was previously hit by the 20th Air Force on 28 July 1944. A group burial was completed in the Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, Illinois, on 25 August 1950, using nine graves (Sec. D, Graves 264, 265, 266, 298, 299, 300, 332, 333, 334 with marker placed on 265).
His brother, John J. Collins, served in the U.S. Army (Service # 31025233) from 14 March 1941 (enlisted Worcester, Mass.).