Veteran Visits Crash Site In Germany Credit RAF
Germany

Veteran Visits Site Where His Lancaster Bomber Crashed In Germany During WWII

It was the first time Air Commodore Charles Clarke had been there in 74 years.

Veteran Visits Crash Site In Germany Credit RAF

Air Commodore Charles Clarke was invited to the site after receiving a piece of the aircraft in the post. (Picture: RAF)

A veteran has visited the crash site of his World War Two Lancaster Bomber, 74 years after he was shot down during a night raid over southern Germany.

Retired Air Commodore Charles Clarke, 94, formerly of 619 Squadron was shot down on the night of 25th February 1944 when he was 20-years-old.

At the time he was in the skies above Germany on a bombing raid near Stuttgart when his Lancaster Bomber was shot down by a German night fighter.

Air Cdre Charles was a Bomb Aimer who flew on several missions during the Second World War in Lancaster Bombers, before becoming a Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft 3 in Poland.

Veteran Visits Crash Site In Germany Credit RAF
This was Charles’ first visit to the site where three fellow crew members sadly died. (Picture: RAF)

Several months ago he received a piece of metal from his aircraft in the post along with an invitation to visit the memorial which has been built by locals close to the crash site.

He was joined by retired Lieutenant Colonel Phil Westwood from the Royal Engineers and Squadron Leader Tim Barlow, amongst others, who each paid their respects to the brave men.

In 1944, on the night of the crash, Charles managed to parachute from the burning aircraft into the Black Forest.

A series of hollows now mark out the impact point of the engines, wings and cockpit at the crash site.  

The retired Air Cdre said:

"What a fine dividing line it was between my fate and that of my crewmates."

As Charles visited the site, he was also joined by the father of a fireman who has seen the aircraft fall from the sky 74 years ago.

At the event, his grandchildren aged 13 and eight-years-old both attended the ceremony.

Veteran Visits Crash Site In Germany Credit RAF
A local band played during the ceremony. (Picture: RAF)

Charles added: 

"I was a lot younger the last time I made this trip.

“I can’t believe how far into the forest the crash site is and how lucky I was to parachute into a clearing. Thank you to all those who have made it possible today.”

Sadly, three of his crew did not escape the aircraft. 

A memorial stands just a few hundred yards from the crash site that has been built by local Germans to honour the three crew members, the pilot, Flying Officer Erie Williams from the Royal Canadian Air Force, Air Gunner, Sergeant William Walch and Flight Sgt James Glazebrook from the Royal Australian Air Force.