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The Airmen's Stories - P/O A V Clowes


Arthur Victor Clowes was born in New Sawley, Derbyshire on 16th August 1912.

His father, also Arthur Victor Clowes, was born in 1889 and killed on 1st July 1917 serving with the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

AV Clowes Jnr. was educated at Long Eaton Council Elementary School. He joined the RAF in January 1929 as an Aircraft Apprentice and passed out in December 1931 as a Metal Rigger. Clowes later applied for pilot training and was accepted.

By 1937 he was serving with No.1 Squadron at Tangmere. On 17th December 1937 he was in formation with two other Hawker Demons, K2901 and K2902, when the two collided with each other over Stansted Park in Hampshire. F/Lt. HH Peck and Sgt. RE Patten were killed.




He was still serving with No. 1 Squadron at Tangmere at the outbreak of war. The squadron was immediately sent to France.

On 23rd November 1939, whilst sharing in the destruction of a He111, Clowes' Hurricane was struck by a French Curtiss Hawk 75A, losing one of his elevators and most of the rudder. He managed to make a successful landing back at Vassincourt.

He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1st April 1940.

On 29th March 1940 Clowes destroyed two Me110s, on 14th May a Me109 and a Ju87, on the 15th a Me110, on the 23rd he shared a He111, on 4th June he destroyed a Me110 and on the 14th he shot down a He111. The squadron was withdrawn to Tangmere on the 18th and was fully operational again by the end of July.

Clowes received a Mention in Dispatches (gazetted 11th July 1940).

He claimed a He111 and a Ju88 destroyed on 16th August, a Me110 and a He111 damaged on the 30th, two Do17s and a Me110 probably destroyed on the 31st, a Me110 shot down on 7th September and a Do17 shared on 24th October.

Awarded the DFM (gazetted 20th August 1940) for his work in France, Clowes was commissioned in September, promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant and given command of 'A' Flight on 10th October.

His portrait was made by Cuthbert Orde (below).



He led No. 1's first offensive sortie on 1st January 1941, strafing German installations between Calais and Boulogne with two other pilots. Clowes was posted to 53 OTU Heston on 29th April 1941 and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 13th May 1941).

He commanded 79 Squadron at Baginton from December 1941 to February 1942, 601 Squadron in the Western Desert from 21st August to 22nd November 1942.

In May 1943 Clowes did a short refresher course at No 1 METS at El Ballah before taking command of 94 Squadron at El Gamil. He relinquished his command in September 1943 after being accidentally blinded in one eye and taken off operational flying.

Granted a Permanent Commission in the Secretarial Branch in September 1945, Clowes later went to RAF Staff College.

He died on 7th December 1949 at the RAF Hospital, Ely, Cambridgeshire from liver cancer whilst still serving.

Clowes is buried in Brampton Cemetery, Huntingdonshire.




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