Sunday 19 November 2017

Duleek's WWII RAF flyer

Hubert Murphy

If ever there was an 'officer and a gentleman' they say Pilot Officer Richard Joseph Clarke, RAF, was it!

And how appropriate his story was told at the Duleek Fair Day held recently, a little corner of the courthouse reserved for the story of the dashing pilot.

Rose Ryan has detailed his story and not only does she have his picture,but his medals and service record.

Richard was a former student of St Joseph's CBS in Drogheda, born in 1915 and the son of Richard and Mary Clarke from Duleek.

It is said that Richard loved one of the St George Smith girls from Duleek House but their love could never be.

He enlisted in the air force at the age of 24 in 1939 and flew in many sorties, acclaimed for his skill.

Mystery still surrounds his death.

He was with the 35 squadron but in 1944 was given a 'temporary commission' from 652 squadron. But on December 23, 1944 was reported as missing. He was never heard from again.

He had served for five years and 239 days and his name is on the family grave in the old cemetery in Duleek as well as the Runnymeade memorial.

Drogheda Independent

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