CLARKE Robert Mayo 427294

LEST WE FORGET 

Flight Lieutenant Robert Mayo CLARKE DFC

Service No: 427294
Born: Bunbury WA, 11 March 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 January 1942
Unit: No. 635 Squadron (RAF), RAF Downham Market, Norfolk
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 12 February 1946 (Citation Title No. 635 Squadron RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 635 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB173), Germany, 7 January 1945, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Raymond Arthur and Marjorie Cecil Clarke, of Roelands, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Brunswick WA
Remembered: Panel 282, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Brother of Flying Officer John Yorke Clarke (415119)

DFC Citation:  “Acting Flight Lieutenant Clarke, as pilot, has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.”

Lancaster PB173 of 635 Squadron took off from RAF Station Downham Market at 1902 hours on 7 January 1945 to attack Munich.  Nothing further was heard of the aircraft which failed to return to base.  A 1948 report based on an inspection of German documents and investigations carried out at the Germering Cemetery, confirmed that the aircraft was shot down and crashed at Unterphaffenhofen on 7 January 1945.  The report adds that the aircraft exploded in the air and that the remains of only 2 members of the crew, Pilot Officer Wiggins and Flight Sergeant Watson were recovered.

The crew members of PB173 were:

Flight Lieutenant Robert Mayo Clarke DFC (427294) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer William Thomas Pethard (185214) (RAFVR)
Pilot Officer Geoffrey Kenneth Hendy (410980) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Charles Denis Mountain (1621552) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator)
Pilot Officer Alexander Anderson Wiggins (185673) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant James Hendry Watson (1566050) (RAFVR) (Rear Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Robertshaw (1592154) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

References:

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, 166/7/789