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I buried my maternal & paternal grandfathers in the last 5 days, any interest in seeing some of their history?


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Been a bit of a rubbish few weeks due to them both passing away within ten days of each other but to be brutally fair they were both getting well on in years, both of them passed at home having been fiercely independent and retained full use of their mental faculties to the absolute end.

 

My paternal grandfather, Commander Douglas Clark of the Royal Navy, 99 yeas old and would have been 100 this coming January the 23rd, He served on several ships, was on two that were torpedoed and sunk, was posted on convoys through the Scarpa flow and the Russian supplies, involved in the Yangtze River incident, posted to Hong Kong and likely much more besides, I don't have a lot of history for him to hand as he didn't talk about it a great deal and I never liked to ask n respect for not wanting to dredge up memories that he might not want to dwell on, I'm awaiting more detailed information and would be more than happy to post it if anybody has any interest whatsoever.

 

This is him, middle top obviously with my Father on the left, brother on the right and nephew on his lap, top is some 20 odd years ago, bottom was in February this year, yeh, the lad on the far right is the same nephew.

Grampy.jpg.ccdace71756e0cf81a464809d40adecf.jpg

 

My maternal grandfather was a flight engineer in the RAF Bomber Command, he was 96 and would have been 97 on the 23rd of December, he flew Lancaster's, Halifax's and Liberator's, performing bombing flights out of the UK, supply drops in Sumatra and the Cocos islands. We found his log book about 30 minutes before we laid him to rest (with a model Lancaster, made by his nephew Rod Davis of the Quarrymen fame if anybody knows that reference) yesterday afternoon much to my relief as it had been assumed lost when my Mother had been a bit brutal with some of his belongings, we also have a selection of his exercise books from his RAF training, along with a fair few photographs including some from supply drops over Sumatra. Again, I never pushed for information but he did occasionally start talking about his time, I fondly remember him telling me once that the first time they encountered predictive flak over Germany he returned convinced that a Lancaster would be absolutely fine without it's flight engineer onboard, another story was that his squadron was asked to volunteer for a top secret mission which to a man they refused to do having heard through the grapevine it was going to ridiculously dangerous, turned out to be Operation Chastise (The Dam Busters for those that don't know) allegedly, no idea is he was pulling my (then) young leg or not but he gets the benefit of doubt in my eyes :)

 

He started learning to fly again in his late 60s I think and was often found flying a Cessna out of Thruxton near his home in WInchester but was stopped from attaining his PPL due to Angina, it never stopped him flying though and I took great delight in commenting that he wanted a computer to play games on when he asked me to get him setup with a simulator. On that note he used to man the helm on a tanker/large ship simulator somewhere near the hamble, not sure exactly where.

 

Some photos of his log book and a few others:

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Liberator III. V & VI Pilot & Engineer's notes, complete :)

 

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Not entirely sure if he is in this photo or if he was taking it.

 

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I'm of a mind to scan and upload all that I can find for posterity as well as a tribute to him, they were both great men, always there for family whatever the situation and both are already missed supremely. S!

 

Sorry for the long post but I hope some of you at least find it of interest :)

 

 

 

 

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Clear Skies to them both. 

 

The log book is incredible. Having the serial numbers not just the code letters gives you such an opportunity to research stuff and really appreciate the pressures and sacrifices made. All of those aircraft mentioned in the second log book image were lost whilst mostly serving with 12 and its sister 626.  ED968 crashed nearby on 25/06/43, DV158 was lost in August 43, ED424 and DV177 in April 44, LM321 in June 44 (with 100 Sqdn).

 

Sobering as it can be, from them you can often pick up lots of detail about other Squadron member lives and memories from interest links to help build your own families picture if you are so inclined.  This link is a little about P/O Ashburner who is mentioned http://urswick.com/Those who gave their lives/Flying Officer Norman Ashburner - Edition 1.pdf

 

I note the "C  flight" reference on log book too. Lancaster Target by Sdn Leader Jack Currie DFC (and Lancaster Legend, a 1980 BBC documentary based on the same) might also be of interest. The book centers on his experiences as a rookie pilot on 12 Sqn's C flight from July 43 so should be bang on with what your grandfather experienced himself -almost mission by mission and day by day. 

 

Thank you for sharing

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