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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. C A Chew


Clifford Archibald Chew was born in July 1917 in Boveney, near Eton Wick in Buckinghamshire. He attended Slough Secondary School, leaving at age 16 to work as a clerk for ICI in Slough. After some years there he moved to their London office.

Chew played for Windsor Rugby Club and rowed for Eton Excelsior Rowing Club. While working In London he joined the RAFVR, in June 1939, as an Airman u/t Pilot and received some training at White Waltham.



He was called up on 1st September and after completing his training he joined 17 Squadron at Debden on 15th July 1940.

On 21st August he claimed a share in the destruction of a Ju88. Chew went to 616 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey in November 1940.

He was commissioned from Warrant Officer in January 1942.

One day in June 1944 Chew was captain of an aircraft on an instructional flight, making night landings. On the fifth the starboard engine began to give trouble. Chew took over the controls and managed to climb to 800 feet, a very difficult feat on one engine. Excessive vibration made it impossible to maintain height. As the aircraft came down, the starboard engine caught fire and the propellor flew off. The undercarriage would not come down and Chew had to crash-land on the runway to avoid hitting parked aircraft.

He brought the crippled and buming aircraft down. The whole fuselage was blazing by this time and only Chew's promp action and presence of mind enabled the pupils to jump clear without injury.

For this action he was awarded the AFC (gazetted 25th August 1944).

His postings are currently undocumented though at some time he served in Northern Ireland, at Nutts Corner, Troome and Ballymoney.

Chew took part in the Rhine crossing on 24th March 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant with 512 Squadron, a Dakota unit. His aircraft, FZ649, released its glider but was then hit in a fuel tank by flak. The wireless operator baled out of the burning aircraft but Chew, F/Sgt. H Gravett and WO GC Newman were killed when the aircraft broke up in the air.

He is buried in Hotton War Cemetery, Belgium.


Above image courtesy of Danielle Roubroeks (


His father had died in 1943 and as a tribute to both men electric lighting was installed in the Alma Road Methodist Chapel in Boveney, the chapel had been founded by CA Chew's great aunt. A plaque there commemorates both men (below).



Additional research and image courtesy of 'Their Names Shall Be Carved In Stone' by Frank Bond via Sarah Warren, School Librarian of Eton College.


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