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The Airmen's Stories - F/O R W Clarke


Raymond Walter Clarke was born in March 1919 in Maidenhead. He attended East Street School there where he won a scholarship to the County Boys School.

On leaving he worked first as clerk in the Post Office and then the County Police Office. A report in the local paper described him as a first-class musician.



Clarke was granted a RAFO commission in March 1938. He relinquished this on being given a RAF short service commission in January 1939. On completion of his training he was posted to 226 Squadron at Harwell.

The squadron, equipped with Battles, flew to France at the outbreak of war as part of the AASF. After being heavily involved in the fighting of May 1940 it withdrew to England in mid-June. Clarke was serving with 88 Squadron when he volunteered for Fighter Command.

Posted to 79 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 18th August, he shared in destroying a He111 on 27th September and was posted to 238 Squadron at Chilbolton on 3rd October.

In mid-November the aircraft carrier HMS Argus sailed from Gibraltar with Hurricanes for Malta. Clarke was one of six pilots who flew off on 16th November 1940 in the second flight of Hurricanes led by an FAA Skua. A series of mishaps saw the Hurricanes run out of fuel and fall one by one into the sea, with the loss of all six pilots.

Clarke is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 5.



Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner




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