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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. R N Clarke

 

Ronald Neville Clarke was born at Handsworth, Staffordshire in 1904 and educated at Four Oaks College and Bishop Veseys Grammar School. He joined the RAF in April 1930 on a short service commission and went to 3 FTS Grantham on 26th April.

He was posted to the School of Naval Co-operation, Lee-on-Solent on 24th February 1933 and to 217 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron at Tangmere on 28th March 1937.


In July 1940 Clarke was commanding 235 Squadron, with one flight at Thorney Island and the other at Bircham Newton. He led the squadron in the Battle of Britain when it was seconded to Fighter Command.

 

235 Squadron Bircham Newton 5th October 1940. Photograph taken from the port wing of Blenheim N3530.

Rear row (L to R): Adjutant F/O A Pinnock (not BoB), P/O AW Martin, P/O NB Shorrocks, Sgt. PF Hall, Sgt. WHJ Westcott, Sgt. LPVJ Ricks (Canadian), Sgt. KE Naish.

Front row (L to R): S/Ldr. RN (Neville-) Clarke, P/O LLG Javaux (Belgian), P/O JL Kirkpatrick (Belgian).

(Image courtesy of Andrew Pinnock)

 

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Clarke was awarded the DFC (gazetted 17th January 1941).

 

Above: his portrait was made by Sir William Rothenstein.

 

He was killed on 3rd March 1941 when Hudson I N7235 QX-A of 224 Squadron crashed near Loch Braden on a training flight from Leuchars to Aldergrove.

Also lost were:

F/Lt. E Ostlere
Sgt. AC Davidson
AC1 J Cordiner
AC1 TEB Price

He is recorded by the CWGC as Neville-Clarke.

He is buried at St Peters churchyard, Little Aston, Staffs.

 

 

 

 

 

Above: his brother was captured at Dunkirk. As his body was not recovered postwar he is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial.

 

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