75th Anniversary Black Thursday – The Aircrew – Billy Colson

This lovely picture of Billy Colson, of the Mackenzie crew, is a vivid reminder of the lives that older aircrew lived before the Second World War came along and violently disrupted them.

The picture is thought to have been taken in 1935. Most of the aircrew flying on Black Thursday would only have been in their early teens in that year, some would have been as young as 12.

The woman in the photograph is Billy’s wife, Florence Amelia, known in the family as Milly or Molly. Billy was an avid grass-track rider and when he did sidecar-racing Milly was his passenger.

A more sombre photograph shows Milly (centre) some ten years later, outside Buckingham Palace. On Billy’s behalf, she had just collected his DFM, he having been killed on Black Thursday.

Bill's family at Buckingham Palace
L-R: Joan, Billy’s sister; Billy’s younger brother, Peter; Billy’s wife, Florence Amelia (Milly or Molly); Gladys Colson, Billy’s mother.

With many thanks to Bill Colson (son) and Wyn Harrison (daughter of Billy’s cousin).