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Ralston Barrett Collins

T/SGT in 3132nd Signal Service Co


Born 1914 in NJ, Died 1975


County of residence at enlistment: Jefferson County, NY
Other residence(s): Morristown, NJ
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: electrical engineer
Notes: "shy" - electronics genius
Source: 3132 Caption List; 3132 Pine Camp Photo Names; photo courtesy Heather Collins Mendigorin

Ral Collins was born on March 12, 1914 in Morristown, NJ, the older of two children. His father was a telephone inspector, and later a construction engineer.

He graduated from Morristown High School in 1931. His father died the following year, just after Ral turned 18. By 1940, he and his mother and sister were living with his grandfather, and Ral was working as a photographer in a National Park Service museum in Morristown, possibly Washington's Headquarters Museum.

He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. That year he also married German-born Hedwig Kriese. Ral was working as an electrical engineer near Pine Camp, NY (where the 3132 Signal Service Company was based) when he enlisted on March 3, 1944. It is possible that he was working at Pine Camp as a civilian employee, but after enlistment was assigned to the 3132 Signal Service Company. In that role, he worked on the recording crew that recorded sounds for deceptions, both before and after they went to Europe. This included a "Recording for the Crossing of the Rhine with an Assault Engineering Company, October 11-21, 1944." A photo caption indicates that this recording happened at the Robertville Dam, about two miles east of Malmedy in Belgium. This river crossing practice may have been in preparation for the eventual Rhine crossing.

Ral was discharged from the Army on October 25, 1945 with the rank of T/SGT and returned to Morristown and Hedwig. After the war he went to work as an electrical engineer at Jersey Central Power & Light and also as an engineering consultant for radio station WMTR. Hedwig worked as a bookkeeper.

Photography continued to be a hobby for Ral throughout his life. He was also an instructor at the Morris Township Rifle Club and a member of the town Kiwanis Club.

Hedwig died in 1970, and in 1971 Ral married again. His new bride was Sheila Pavey, who brought a young son, Charles, to the marriage. Ral and Sheila then became the parents of a daughter, Heather.

Sadly, Ral died when Heather was a toddler, on March 21, 1975. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Morristown.


1914 NJ birth index

1915 NJ state census

1920 census

1930 census

1940 census

1940 draft card

1944 enlistment record

1950 census

1954 Morristown NJ City Directory

1970 NJ marriage index

1975 Social Security death index

1975 VA death record

1975 obituary in the Sunday Daily Record, Morristown, NJ

1975 Find a Grave record

2024 (February 7) GALP Veteran Biography Worksheet from daughter, Heather Collins Mendigorin

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