Born: 1st August 1923, Ipswich.

Died: 15th November 1943; age: 20; aircraft crashed at Beaulieu, Hampshire.

Residence: 12, James Street, Ipswich.

Occupation: Machine Operator – Tobacco.

At the age of 17, Bobbie joined the R.A.F.V.R.


Rank: Sergeant/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; Service Number: 1335355.

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 53 Squadron.


Grave Reference:


Ipswich Old Cemetery,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Edith J. Clarke, of 12, James Street, Ipswich.


Mother: Edith Jesse Clarke, born January 1902, Ipswich.




Bobbie was living with his mother & widowed grandfather, and a house guest at their family home – 12, James Street, Ipswich.

Robert Clarke, a General Labourer, born March 1861, Earl Stonham, Suffolk.

Edith Clarke, the family House Keeper.

Albert Sprinks, retired from the Royal Marines, born August 1871, Isfield, East Sussex.


Probate to Edith Jesse Clarke – mother.


15th November 1943

Aircraft: Consolidated Liberator GR MkV; serial number: BZ817 (L); Based at R.A.F. station Beaulieu, Hampshire. On the 15th November BZ817 took off from Beaulieu for a long range patrol over the Bay of Biscay. Almost immediately the aircraft was in trouble and it crashed just two miles East of the airfield at Swinesley’s Farm killing all eight men on board.


Douglas Roland Cooper; Flight Officer; age 26; R.A.F.V.R.

Ernest Frederick Barge; Flight Sergeant; age 29; R.A.F.V.R.

Daniel Boyd Sinclair; Flight Officer/Navigator/Bomber; age 29; R.C.A.F.

Leslie Harold Lister; Flight Officer/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 23; R.A.F.

Francis Quinn; Sergeant/ Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 24; R.A.F.V.R.

Gerald Young; Warrant Officer Class II/ Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; age 27; R.C.A.F. Photographs courtesy of Shayne Edmonds.

Arnold James Pudifin; Flight Sergeant; age 21; R.C.A.F. image courtesy :Canadian Virtual War Memorial


Aircraft information courtesy of John Allan.


Bobby Clarke’s story was featured in LET’S TALK magazine, the article was kept by the family – courtesy of Sue.



  • You may be interested in this report in the Service File of one of the Canadian airmen killed in the crash:
    “The aircraft took off normally on a dark night, using the airfield’s Type II lighting. On passing the outer ring of lights, a turn to port was made losing height, and after turning 150 degrees very sharply, the aircraft struck the ground and burst into flames. A balloon barrage is situated five miles from the flare path, and the Captain was given the option of doing a right-hand circuit. He said he would decide in the air. It is thought possible that the pilot decided to hug the outer circle of lights to keep him clear of the balloons, and that on passing the lights, he commenced a turn which became steeper than he intended. He actually crashed into the outer circle light cables.”

  • The Francis Quinn listed in the crew was my uncle and I was named after him.
    He was studying maths at Glasgow University when war was declared. The whole university class walked out and joined up on that day. I now live in Ipswich.


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