Frederick Edsall CLARKE Jr.

Fred Jr. joined the Calgary Flying Club and learned to fly in 1938, and then joined the RCAF where during World War II he served as a volunteer pilot initially with 400 and then with 414 Army Co-operation Squadron, flying the P-40 Tomahawk and the Mustang Mark I. As an Army Co-operation Squadron, their purpose was to supply Allied Army Intelligence with photo reconnaissance, intelligence and undertake ground attacks where necessary.

Freddy Clarke at Croydon [Photo courtesy Christopher Clarke]

On his second sortie of the day, Fred Jr. was shot down at Dieppe on 19th August 1942, crash-landed in the English Channel and was saved by a Canadian soldier who swam over to his aircraft, pulled him unconscious from the cockpit, and swam him back to the landing craft that had just left the beach at the end of the Dieppe Raid. Fred Jr.’s fractured skull eventually led to him blacking out while flying, and in May 1943 his Commanding Officer grounded him for the rest of the war. Freddie became 414 Squadron’s Operations Liaison Officer and stayed with 414 Squadron during campaigns in Holland and Belgium. Freddie passed away in Calgary in May 2005.

For further information see: 414 Squadron and the Dieppe raid.

[Source: Bajan Things; follow link for an interview with Fred Clarke and his wing-man Hollis Hills]

Leave a Reply