via email from Brent Richards, 4-20-05
I found your website while looking up Marshal Collishaw on Google to find out how much his autograph was possibly worth.
I met the Marshal in Desert Hot Springs , California, in the early 1960's. The Collishaws used to spend their winters there staying at a Spa Tel called the Kismet Lodge.My family also would stay there on weekends.
I met the Marshal when he saw I had some 1/72 scale models of airplanes including a Sopwith triplane and he asked about my interest. The owner of the lodge introduced him as Mr Colshon or at least that is how he pronounced it. As the Marshal talked of his time in the First World War it slowly dawned on me who he really was.
Excited with the knowledge I was face to face with one of the greatest fighter pilots in history I asked him many questions about his service in the Black Flight and in the desert in WWII.
Finally I asked for his autograph which he gracefully gave me on a sheet of notebook paper on which I folded over and wrote on the outside, Raymond P Collishaw, Air Vice Marshall, retired.
For a long time I kept the autograph next to a model of the triplane and now have it in a safety deposit box. I thought this information might be of interest to you
via email from Brent Richards, 4-25-05
The Kismet Lodge in Desert Hot Springs is now a clothing optional resort. A big change from the 60's.
As far as remembering my conversations, the Marshal was reluctant to talk of his combat experiences. He did mention that the RFC flyers were somewhat jealous of the reputation that he as a Canadian and a Navy pilot to boot, was getting for the Black Flight.
As my father was Canadian and in the Royal Canadian Navy in WW2 they talked about common experiences and common issues with the British leadership they both served under. Collishaw did seem somewhat resentful that he was forced out of the RAF. When I asked about his time in the desert, and what he thought of Rommel, he said that if Rommel was supplied like the British were ,there would have been no way to stop him.
He did make a couple of suggestions about my Triplane model. I think one of them was to make it look dirty. I do not have any pictures of it. Now I wish I had.
Thank you for your reply
WW I, WW II, and Korea
World War I Fighter Ace
To access his page, just click on the title above. If time permits, you should take advantage of the offerings of this website and enjoy the stories of the other 21 enshrinees in the Hall of Fame. You can access the homepage by clicking on:
Paper: 170 pages; 5x8 inches
Publisher: Ronsdale Press
List Price: $10.95
"What Boy wants to spend his fourteenth birthday at the Remembrance Day ceremonies? Not Johnny. Going to bed in a state of rebellion, Johnny is awakened to find a soldier-ghost in his bedroom, who leads him back in time to meet real-life Canadians who were involved in dangerous war-time activities. Johnny follows Bill Chong as he evades capture working as an undercover courier between Hong Kong and mainland China; he stands alongside Joan Bamford Fletcher as she commandeers Japanese soldiers to take hundreds of wounded civilians to safety through the jungles of Indonesia; he flies with fighter-pilot Raymond Collishaw and the Canadian forces as they fight in the Russian Revolution. But why, Johnny asks, has he been chosen to be a wotness to Canadieans at war?"
Personal communication from Ray Smith, his grandson, 2-18-05
If you have any information on this Early Flier,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper