University of Oxford
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RAF Fred Clarke

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 19:09 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Fred Clarke joined the Home Guard in 1939 and would man the searchlights looking for enemy aircraft. He joined the RAF in 1941, did his basic training at RAF Padgate and then moved to Colnbrook in Buckinghamshire it was at Colnbrook that he was injured and hospitalized for several weeks.

In 1944, he was stationed in Peshawar in Northern India now part of Pakistan. This housed the RAF squadrons number 5, 20, 28 and 31, the station provided close support for the army units in the northwest frontier. Whilst Fred was in India he was able to send a message to his wife through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). This was reported in the local newspaper the Shields Gazette with the story that his six-month-old daughter would be able to hear her father's voice for the first time.

The RAF played a key role in halting the Japanese Army in Burma with an air strike on their base in Arakan and other bases in Northern Thailand. Fred Clarke served in India until 1946.

Audio and transcription are attached.


Item list and details

1. Photos 2. RAF Padgate map 3. Fred Clarke in RAF uniform 4. RAF Medical card 5. RAF Postcard 6. BBC card and Shields Gazette 7. RAF Colnbrook station leave card 8. ID card 9. RAF release book

Person the story/items relate to

Fred Clarke

Person who shared the story/items

Eileen Burnett

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Ocean Road Community Centre, Tyne and Wear on 18 November 2023. The event was organised by South Shields Local History Group.

Record ID

96649 | SSH025