University of Oxford
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Sgt Charles Clark and Various Objects

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 17:47 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

"Charles Clark didn't speak much about his service; he was asked to write memoirs but declined. Later, he revisited RAF Elsham, his old Squadron base, and was mentioned in other people's memoirs because he flew a lot of operational sorties, seeming to be considered lucky to have on the crew as a result. He didn't talk much about bombing raids. At the end of the war, he went to India with the Squadron, taking a few weeks to sail, possibly in expectation of continuing war, but no further details are known.

He served as an operational air gunner, completed a tour as an instructor, and then returned to his front line Squadron. He was considered lucky by his crewmates, given the number of operational sorties he had survived by the time of his second front line tour.

1324408 Air Gunner Sgt, later Fg Off Charles Clark, originally from London and later Luton pre-war, was born on September 23, 1923, and died around 2004. He served as an RAF Volunteer Reserve Air Gunner, NCO and later being commissioned. He flew Lancaster Bombers operationally. He joined at the age of 18, via RAF Uxbridge undergoing medical examinations at RAF Uxbridge for medicals etc on December 2, 1940. He received training in Blackpool and then in Dumfries.

There are multiple artefacts, including logbooks and medals for an air gunner who was awarded for distinguished service and whose medals show him to have been mentioned in dispatches (note leaf on medal ribbon).

He qualified as an Air Gunner in October 1942, as indicated by a logbook entry. The logbook shows that he flew Wellingtons as both a Front Gunner and Rear Gunner interchangeably on Number 1 AAS. In 1943, he also flew Lancasters as a Mid Upper Gunner, conducting operational sorties with 9 Squadron. Additionally, in 1943, he flew Manchester bombers on a training unit.

From 1943 to 1944, he was at 83 Operational Training Unit, where he flew on Wellingtons and Whitleys at Elvington.

He returned to the front line with 103 Squadron in 1944, flying Lancasters. In 1945, he resumed a training role, this time on Martinets.

A key date in his service is June 8, 1944, when he was Mentioned in Dispatches, as published in the London Gazette. A certificate confirms this event."


Item list and details

1. Observers log book (Air Gunner) 2. Officer's pay book x 2 3. RAF Service Book 4. Bomber Command Medal 5. 3 x press cuttings 6. 4 x medal/citation photos inc [note mentioned in dispatches leaf} 7. 5 x course photos 8. Ribbon bar and ribbons 9. Bomber card badge/ 103 Sqn crest 10. 2 x ties - 103 Sqn + air gunner RAF tie

Person the story/items relate to

Charles Clark (SGT-FG Off) RAF VR

Person who shared the story/items

Michael Charles Clark

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was my father

Type of submission

Shared at Thornton College, Buckinghamshire on 16 September 2023.

Record ID

93374 | THO002