Flying Officer Clarence William WOODS DFM

Service No: 402941
Born: Lismore NSW, 29 June 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 November 1940
Unit: No. 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit (RAF), RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), 6 November 1942 (Citation Title: No. 214 Squadron RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1651 Heavy Conversion Unit Stirling aircraft N6005), Cambridgeshire, 31 August 1943, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas William and Hannah Elizabeth Woods, of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Lismore NSW
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Lismore Cenotaph, Lismore NSW

DFM Citation: “Sergeant Woods has completed 30 night operational sorties including two to Hamburg, five to Bremen and eight trips to the Ruhr. On the night of 19th September 1942, Sergeant Woods was detailed to attack a target in Munich. In spite of intense searchlight activity and anti-aircraft fire, he forced home his attack from 5,000 feet and dropped his bombs in the centre of the town. On the night of 16/17th August 1942, he was detailed as Captain of a Stirling aircraft to lay mines off the Frisian Islands. After taking off, his starboard undercarriage failed to retract. Despite this, Sgt Woods proceeded to his area and successfully his mines. On returning to base, being unable to lower his port undercarriage, he carried out a crash landing on one engine without injury to his crew. This Captain of aircraft has always displayed great determination and persistence in identifying his target and pressing home his attacks. He has carried out consistently good work.” In his remarks, the Station Command stated: “I strongly recommend Sergeant Woods for the award of the DFM in recognition of his continued determination to attack the enemy throughout the whole of his tour of operations, irrespective of the opposition encountered.”

On the 31st August 1943, Stirling N6005 took off from RAF Downham Market, Norfolk, intending to return to RAF Waterbeach. Some 10 minutes into the flight at 2040 hours, the aircraft banked steeply and spun into the ground a mile north at Littleport Side, Shippey Hill on the border between Cambridgeshire and Suffolk and approximately 7 miles north north east of Ely. The nine crew members on board were killed. Eye witnesses said the aircraft was flying very low in the region of 200 and 400 feet, with all navigation lights on. The aircraft approached Shippey Hill railway station and was observed to suddenly climb and at the same time make a violent turn to starboard as if to avoid the signal box. The aircraft did not recover from this turn and the reason for flying so low was not known.

The crew members of N6005 were:

Flight Sergeant Robert George Cotton (413818) (RNZAF) (Pilot under instruction)
Flight Sergeant Ivan Aubery Eliot (415024) (Navigator)
Sergeant Patrick Irwin (1186092) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Derek Parsons (1673114) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer Richard William Pratt (523915) (RAF) (Flight Engineer Instructor)
Flight Sergeant Frederick Payne (421987) (RNZAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Frederick Bice Wearne (412778) (Air Bomber)
Flying Officer Clarence William Woods DFM (402941) (Pilot Instructor)
Flight Sergeant George Louis Yensen (421954) (Air 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, 166/44/53
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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