Flight Engineer: Richard Venville Thomas Bowerman
Navigator: Eric James Lovelace Carpenter
Bomb Aimer: Norman Charles Law (RAAF), known as “Shorty Law”
W/Op: George Ridley
M/U Gunner: Eric Thomas Charles (RAAF)
Rear Gunner: Roger Perryman Wishart (RAAF)
LANCASTER JB535 OF-Q
30 January 1944, shot down by night fighter, North Holland. The entire crew was killed.
For Dutch eyewitness reports of the crash, see this page: Crew: Clarke, Dutch Eyewitness Report
The crew are all buried at Barsingerhorn (Kolhorn) General Cemetery in the Netherlands.
Clarke was one of the second pilots on Black Thursday and won a mention in despatches for his flying skills in landing Cawdery’s Lancaster (see Crew: Cawdery)
From the ORB
30/31 January 1944 – Berlin
JB535Q F/L E.S.Clarke, Sgt R.V.Bowerman, P/O E.J.Carpenter, F/O W.C.Law, Sgt G.Ridley, P/O T.E.Charles, F/L R.P.Wishart. Up 1715 – missing.
Extract from Bomber Command Losses
Lancaster III JB535 OF – Q. Op Berlin. T/O 1715 Bourn. Believed shot down by a night fighter, crashing 2210 local time at Kolhorn (Noord-Holland), 7km ENE of Schagen. All were buried on 1 February in Barsingerhorn (Kolhorn) General Cemetery. Sgt Bowerman was 18 years old, and if he was F/L Clarke’s regular flight engineer, had participated in 39 operational sorties.
Type: Lancaster Mk. III
Registration: JB535 ‘OF-Q’ “Queenie”
Unit: 97 Squadron – 8 Group Bomber Command
Base: Bourn – Cambridgeshire
Remarks: When lost the aircraft had a total of 97 hours of flying time and it was one of two 97 “Straits Settlements” Squadron Lancasters lost on this operation.
Take-off date: 30-1-1944 at 17:15
Crash location: Noord-Holland province – At Kolhorn, about 6 kilometer east of Schagen.
Crash date: 30-1-1944 at 22:10
Casualties: 7 KIA
Cause: Shot down by a night-fighter, probably coming from Leeuwarden airfield (Friesland province).
Remarks: A wing and an engine were shot on fire which caused the wing to break of the aircraft; at the same time the aircraft exploded in the air.
Ernest Clarke, by his sister, Barbara
Known as Paddy in the RAF, he trained on Ansons and Wellingtons before starting his 200 hours Ops. on Hampdens. In the mess he was useful as the camp pianist – he could play anything by ear, and when on leave there were always great sing-songs at home. As an Instructor he formed a great admiration for Australians and on his last flight, now as a Flight Lieutenant flying a Lancaster Bomber, he had an Anglo/Australian crew. On leave just before this he brought his bomb aimer, “Shorty” Law, home with him and his last letter to his much loved mother was written just after that.
Written on 30 01 09, the 65th anniversary of the crash, by his sister Barbara.