Page 8 - issue17.05.2019
P. 8

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 17, 2019 P8


                                                                     Typhoon boosts

                                                                     Nato firepower

                                                                     New squadron to guard UK skies against Putin aggression

       Great Escape veteran Air

       Cdre Charles Clarke dies

       BOMBER COMMAND  veteran  an        irrepressible  character,  an
       and survivor of the PoW camp   exceptionally active supporter of
       made famous by the film The Great  the RAF throughout his life, and a
       Escape, Air Commodore Charles  genuine inspiration to everyone. It
       Clarke has died aged 95.      was a great privilege to hand to him
         The hero, who  survived Stalag  the RAF100 Baton last year, at the
       Luft III and the brutal Long March  start of our centenary celebrations,
       inflicted by the Nazis on PoWs during  and to be with him recently in Zagan
       the winter of 1945, once described the  for the 75th anniversary of the Great
       legendary break out as an ‘audacious  Escape.”
       event,’ and an important part of RAF   Charles started his RAF career as a
       history.                            teenager, training as a bomb
         RAF     Benevolent                   aimer  on   Lancaster
       Fund chief executive                     Bombers     during
       Air Vice-Marshal                           World War II. In
       David   Murray                              February  1944,
       said: “Charles also                         aged just 20, he
       became one of                                was high above   Simon Mander
       the leading voices                           the German skies
       in the campaign                              on  a  bombing   BRITAIN’S TYPHOON  Force
       for a  permanent                            raid near Stuttgart   has been beefed up amid
       memorial to the                             when his Lancaster   heightened  worries  about
       men who perished                           was shot down by a   Russian  aggression,  doubts
       during their service                      German night fighter.   about the future of arms control
       in  Bomber Command                        He bailed out over   and rising tensions among Nato
       and  was  there  to  watch           the Black Forest, but was   allies.
       The Queen unveil the monument   captured  and  eventually  taken to   The  move  means  RAF
       which now stands in London’s Green  Stalag Luft III.          Lossiemouth  gets  a   fourth
       Park.                           Arriving a month before the   operational  Eurofighter  unit  to
         Always an active and passionate  famous escape, Charles acted as   protect British and Nato airspace
       advocate for the Forces Air Cdre  a stooge, looking out for German   with IX(B) Sqn at the heart of the
       Clarke played a central role during  Guards or ‘ferrets’, while Squadron   UK’s Quick Reaction Alert Force,
       the RAF’s centenary celebrations last  Leader Roger Bushell and his   ready to take off within minutes of
       year.                         team prepared tunnel Harry, and   being scrambled.
         He joined the Chief of the Air  themselves, for the mass breakout.  The move comes as the United
       Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen   Charles did not leave Stalag Luft   States  General  Tod  Wolters
       Hillier  and  senior  figures  from  the  III until January 1945, when he and   succeeds Army General Curtis
       Polish Armed Forces at the old Stalag  his fellow RAF colleagues were force   Scaparrotti as the Alliance’s
       site  last  month to  mark  the  75th  marched out of the camp on what   Supreme  Allied  Commander
       anniversary of the Great Escape, in  famously became known as the Long   Europe and head of US European
       what was to be his last official public  March. Terrible conditions ensued,   Command.      CEREMONY: CAS ACM Sir Stephen Hillier inspects the parade as the IX Sqn stands up at
       engagement.                   with temperatures  dropping  as low   America is also stepping   Lossiemouth. PHOTO: SAC SCOTT TIERNEY
         Chief of the Air Staff ACM Sir  as -25°C.                   up military manoeuvres in the  are making moves seen by some  but  was  officially  stood  up  to
       Stephen Hillier said:  “Air Cdre   The Prisoners of War, many of    region including the unusual  as risking escalation of the war in  coincide with Lossiemouth’s 80th
       Charles Clarke was a remarkable  whom had been incarcerated for up   simultaneous deployment two  eastern Ukraine.        anniversary.
       man who had an extraordinary life.   to five years, were malnourished and   aircraft carrier strike groups.  IX(B)  Squadron  has  been   Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief
         “A veteran of Bomber Command  some still wore the same clothes they   At the same time, the Russians  operational  since  last  month  Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said:
       and the Long March, he was  were shot down in.
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