Colin Shone McHenry

Colin Shone McHenry was born in Bolton in 1914.

He was the son of Albert and Florence McHenry.

His father, Albert McHenry, worked in cotton mills in Bolton, as had his mother.

Colin was educated at Sunning Hill Council Schol before arriving at Bolton Church Institute.

“Beloved by everyone - boys and girls - full of fun!  At camp he squeezed the Scoutmaster’s shaving soap all over the tent - and got away with it!” J B Turner.

After leaving School he worked for Prudential Insurance.

He married Rhoda Fitzharris at St Margaret’s Church, Halliwell, Bolton in 1940. They had one daughter, Marilyn J McHenry, born in 1942.


Colin's War

Colin joined the RAF and trained partly in Canada. As a Sergeant Pilot (Navigator) he flew with 115 Squadron which was equipped with Wellington bombers and based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. They carried out many operations against industrial targets in the heart of Germany.

He was killed during a daylight raid over Essen, Germany on 29 October 1942.

There is a memorial to him on the family grave at St Mary the Virgin, Deane, Bolton.


Bolton Journal and Guardian
26 September 1941


The interesting story of how a young Bolton airman has become acquainted on the spot with the everyday life of the people of Canada, chatted with the Duke of Kent, and even spoken over the air to relatives in this country, all within the brief space of three months, lies behind last Sunday’s broadcast from the Dominions.

The airman is LAC Colin Shone McHenry, whose wife and parents residing at 389, Chorley Old-rd, Bolton, were thrilled to hear his greetings over the air on Sunday afternoon. A Bolton boy, educated at Sunning Hill Council School and the Church Institute, McHenry is one of the young British airmen training for flying duties in Canada under the auspices of the Empire Training Scheme. Joining the RAF in February, he was sent out to Canada in June. Since then he has had a round of notable experiences. His most interesting experience was his meeting with the Duke of Kent, who toured Canada last month. He writes: “The Duke of Kent came into our classroom when we were being ‘briefed ‘ for a flight. He spoke to a few student observers and I was one. What a thrill! He came to see me, I had not to be presented to him, and he asked me my name, where I lived, was I married and what was my job. Did I like navigation, was I keen to get on with the job and help finish the war. He was perfectly natural and ordinary with no accent or fuss.” McHenry encloses in a recent letter a copy of the “Toronto Daily Star” in which there is a photograph of the Duke inspecting the school and plant. He can be seen behind the Duke. Although he has been in Canada only a short time his letters betray a keen interest in the life of the ordinary people of Canada, and he has nothing but praise for the manner in which they are receiving the British airmen. “You never did see such hospitality. I only hope the British are receiving Empire troops similarly. We don’t have to walk anywhere anytime. Cars fight with each other to give us lifts.

In writing about the Canadians’ attitude to the war he states that they are very patriotic. “Everybody talks victory, everybody wears victory badges. Nearly every house, shop and factory is covered with Union Jacks, and car windscreens bear patriotic messages such as ‘England for Ever’. There are Poles, Chinese, negroes, Jews and Italians who have lived there for years, and they are highly patriotic. They resent being known as anything but British. And do they love Royalty? The King and Queen came here and apparently the Queen swept them off their feet.”

Meanwhile this young airman’s father, mother and wife were thrilled when they received a telegram from the BBC on Saturday last with the text, “Listen Forces programme, Sept 21st. Greetings from Canada.” It appears that the airmen have to draw for the opportunity to broadcast and McHenry proved to be a lucky one. Mr and Mrs McHenry have received countless messages of goodwill from friends far and near who heard the broadcast. McHenry, who attended St Peter’s Jubilee Sunday School, Halliwell, is at present compiling a large diary, which he hopes to read to the family when the war is won.

Bolton Journal and Guardian
6 November 1942

Missing After Daylight Operations

Sergt. Colin Shone McHenry (28), late of 389 Chorley Old Road, and now of 13, Hilton-st, Tonge Fold, Navigator in the R.A.F., is reported missing. He was in Bomber Command and was missing from a recent daylight operation. His Wing Commander writes to his wife: “Your husband was one of the best navigators in the squadron, and carried out his duties in a most efficient manner, Maintaining the highest traditions of the R.A.F., and would have been a credit to any squadron. He was very popular and his loss will have been felt by all.” Sergt. McHenry, who attended Bolton Church Institute, was formerly employed by the Prudential Assurance Co. He had been in the R.A.F. for about 18 months, and did part of his training in Canada, where he met the Duke of Kent, and broadcast on that occasion. He is married with one child. His wife says she has not given up hope of his return.



Colin Shone McHenry

Colin Shone McHenry

Sergeant (Navigator): 1016740

115 Squadron
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Born: Bolton 1914

Died: 29 October 1942

Link to CWGC Casualty Details

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