Squadron Leader James CLARK DFC AFC MID

Acting Commanding Officer, No. 460 Squadron

Service No: 402439
Born: Waverley NSW, 28 August 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 August 1940
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Yorkshire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 16 February 1943 (Citation Title: No. 148 Squadron RAF)
Awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC), 1 September 1944 (Citation Title: No.11 Base Unit RAAF)
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB542), 12 December 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of David and Mary Clark; husband of Ivy Eileen Clark, of East Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: MacArthur Park Obelisk, Camden NSW

Squadron Leader Clark had completed 50 operational sorties. He was in a major aircraft accident on 4 September 1942 in which Sergeant Alwyn Raymond Downe (406326) was killed.

Date: 12-13 December 1944
Target: Essen
Total Force: Dispatched – 550, Attacking – 529
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 462 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 11; No. 466 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 9
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,377
Total Aircraft Lost: 6
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

Two more “topping-up” raids against Essen were made before the end of the year—on 28th-29th November and on 12th-13th December; each of these achieved significant new damage. The Driffield squadrons (Nos 462 and 466) joined in both these attacks without undue incident and without loss, but No. 460 which operated only on the latter raid suffered a heavy blow when Squadron Leader Clark, a fine flight commander, was shot down.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 303, 305

Lancaster PB542 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1559 hours on 12 December 1944 to bomb Essen, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 16 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eighteen aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and only one aircraft PB 542 did not return to base. It was established post war that the aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire at Bergerhausen near Essen at 1940 hours and burst into flames on impact and all crew members were killed.
The crew members of PB 542 were:

Flying Officer Stanley James Bethel (411987) (Bomb Aimer)
Squadron Leader James Clark DFC AFC MID (402439) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Philip Edwin Edwards (411772) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Leon Milner (160860) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Brian Clapham Reid DFC (409224) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Christopher Sanders (149052) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Maxwell Scott DFM (404043) (Rear Gunner)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/26/212
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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