LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Clifford Joseph DUNSHEA

Service No: 422936
Born: Braidwood NSW, 17 January 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 June 1942
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Dallachy, Moray
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft RD141), off the Norwegian Coast, 10 January 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Trondheim (Stavne) Cemetery, Norway
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest and Angela Lucy Dunshea, of Dulwich Hill, New South Wales. Australia.
Roll of Honour: Dulwich Hill NSW
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Beaufighter RD141 took off from RAF Dallachy at 1150 hours on an anti shipping patrol of Molde-Bremanger. The patrol height was 1,500 feet and the state of sea was calm. Six aircraft from the Squadron took part in the patrol and of these RD 141 failed to return. The No. 455 Squadron aircraft were accompanied by 8 Beaufighters (No. 404 Squadron RCAF), 4 anti flak Beaufighters (No. 144 Squadron RAF), 2 outriders (Mosquito aircraft) of No. 333 Squadron RAF, escorted by 10 Mustangs of No. 315 Squadron RAF and 2 Air Sea Rescue Warwick aircraft.

The patrol sighted a Mine Sweeper of the 1942 class and attacked. Hits were obtained on the superstructure and amidships and the ship was smoking heavily. After the attack at 1445 hours RD141 was seen to climb to starboard with the port engine on fire, to turn on its back and dive into the water on the north east side of Harmansoy (62.39N 06.15E). The aircraft was seen to be burning on the water. Both the crew members were killed.

The crew members of RD141 were:

Pilot Officer Clifford Joseph Dunshea (422936) (Navigator Wireless)
Pilot Officer Arthur Edmund Winter (425997) (Pilot)

During operations on the Norwegian coast on 5 December 1944 this same crew in Beaufighter ‘M’ of No. 455 Squadron was hit in the starboard engine, but on one engine and with all the instruments unserviceable the aircraft was able to reach a point 40 miles north east of Lerwick, Shetland Isles and ditch in the sea. The crew was circled by an ASR Warwick and picked up from their dinghy by an ASR launch after three hours in a heavy swell. Beaufighter NV 438 (Flying Officer James Austin Hakewill (417747) (Pilot)) was lost on that day.

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, 166/10/362

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951