The Airmen's Stories - P/O A W Clarke
Arthur William Clarke was born in Altrincham on 26th December 1919, one of ten children. In January 1931 he and his sister went to Cheadle Hulme (Manchester Warehousemen and Clerks' Orphan) School, their father having died.
Clarke became a House Captain and then School Captain in September 1937. He left in March 1938, having been awarded the 'John Rylands' Gold Watch, and took up a post in the Meteorological Department at the. Air Ministry. He left when be joined the RAF on a short service commission in June 1939.
With his training completed, Clarke went to 12 Group Pool on 8th March 1940. He converted to Hurricanes and joined 504 Squadron on 7th April.
He was shot down on 11th September in combat over the Kent coast and reported 'Missing. His name is on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 7.
Above: a report dated 9th October 1940 by S/Ldr. J Sample, CO of 504 Squadron, saying that there was still no evidence of what happened to Clarke.
Above: a letter dated 9th December 1940 from Clarke's mother in Manchester.
However, an investigation of an aircraft which crashed and burned out south of Rookelands, near Newchurch on Romney Marsh, proved beyond any doubt that it was Hurricane P3770.
Items found confirmed the pilot's identity as being Pilot Officer AW Clarke and also that he had not left the cockpit. Next-of-kin decided that his remains should be left undisturbed and that a memorial should be erected close to the crash site. This memorial was dedicated on 11th September 1986.
The memorial is sited on the verge of the Newchurch to New Romney road, south of Newchurch and just south of Rookelands (if using the 1:50000 OS map) at a place marked Starveacre Bridge (if using the 1:25000 OS map).
Recent editions of the 1:50000 OS map 189 Ashford and Romney Marsh have the exact spot marked ‘Mon.’ (for monument).
For three years one of his fellow boarders at Cheadle Hulme was Frederick Norman Hargreaves , who went on to serve with 92 Squadron and was killed on the same day as Clarke, his body was not recovered. He is also commemorated on this website.