Grave Location – Anglican D-681.
Service No. 427294, Royal Australian Air Force ( Transferred to Royal Air Force whilst in United Kingdom ), Rank- Flight Lieutenant, Date Enlisted – 21 June 1942, Date of Death- 7 January 1945, Age at Death- 23 Years, No known grave- Memorialised at Bunbury Cemetery and also at RAF Memorial at Runnymede, United Kingdom at Panel No. 282..
Robert, or Bob as he was known was born on 11 May 1921 to parents Raymond Arthur Clarke and Marjory Cecil Clarke ( nee Clifton ). He proved to be a very smart student , although he only completed 3 years at Bunbury High School. He left school at 15 years of age to pursue his very keen interest in farming. He was also a first class rifle shot , and had been more than a measure for his father Ray, leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Bob had been running the family farm until he enlisted in the RAAF on 21 June 1942, then qualified as a Pilot and transferred to the United Kingdom. He had completed 15 operations in Halifax Bombers and a further 27 operations in Pathfinder Bombers, prior to being shot down during action over Munich, Germany on the night of 7 January 1945. ( He and his crew of 7 were killed ).
Bob was awarded the DFC ( Distinguished Flying Cross ) only 2 days before he was shot down. He had achieved the rank of Flight Lieutenant and has no known grave.
The following information was obtained from-www.awm.gov.au/catalogue/research_centre/
RAAF Personnel serving on attachment in Royal Air Force Squadrons and Support Units in World War 2 and Missing with No Known Grave.
427294- Flight Lieutenant CLARKE Robert Mayo DFC
Aircraft Type- Lancaster
Serial No. PB 173
Unit- 635 Squadron RAF.
Summary- Lancaster PB 173 of 635 Squadron took off from RAF station Downham Market, Norfolk at 1902 hours on 7 January 1945 to attack Munich. Nothing further was heard of the aircraft which failed to return to base.
A 1948 Report based on an inspection of German documents and investigations carried out at the Germering Cemetery, confirmed that the aircraft was shot down and crashed at Unterphaffenhofen on 7 January 1945. Unterphaffenhofen is located a short distance South West of Germering, which is approximately 10 miles west of Munich.
The report adds that the aircraft exploded in the air and that the remains of only 2 RAF members of the crew, P.O Wiggins and Flight Sergeant Watson were recovered. Members of the crew were:-
RAAF 427294- Flight Lieutenant- CLARKE R.M. DFC Captain ( Pilot )
RAF- Pilot Officer- PETHARD W.T.
RAAF 410980- HENDY G.K. ( Navigator/ Bomb Aimer )
RAF Flight Sergeant MOUNTAIN C.D. ( Wireless Operator )
RAF Pilot Officer WIGGINS A.A. ( Mid Upper Air Gunner )
RAF Flight Sergeant WATSON J.H. ( Rear Air Gunner )
RAF Flight Sergeant ROBERTSON T. ( Flight Engineer )
DFC ( Distinguished Flying Cross ).
Acting Flight Lieutenant CLARKE,” as Pilot, has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty”.