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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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RAF Transport Command Crest
07.11.1944 Transport Command Boston III BZ549 Fl/Lt. Kenneth D. Clarson

Operation: Ferry delivery flight to the U.K.

Date: 7th November 1944. (Tuesday)

Time: 15.00 hrs.

Unit: Transport Command.

Type: Douglas Boston III. (A-20)

Serial: BZ549

Coded: None carried.

Base: B.W.1, Greenland (Later renamed Narsarsuag)

Location: Reykjavik Airfield, Iceland.

Pilot: F/O. Peter Ronald Maitland J/36240 RCAF Age ? Injured.

Nav: Fl/Lt. Kenneth David Clarson AUS/405831 RAAF Age 24. Killed. (1)

REASON FOR LOSS.

Extract from Court of Inquiry into accident:

Statement of pilot:

I am Flying Officer Peter Ronald Maitland, RCAF J/36240, employed as a pilot with RAFTC.

On November seventh 1944, I flew Boston BZ549 from B.W.1. Greenland to Reykjavik, Iceland, on a delivery flight to the UK.

Two days previously I had taken off from B.W.1. and the pilots hatch had blown off and damaged the mid-upper gun turret, I landed immediately and temporary repairs were carried out to enable me to complete my flight.

On November seventh I took-off from B.W.1. at approximately 11.00 hrs. for Reykjavik Iceland, I arrived at Reykjavik at about 15.00 hrs. and called the Tower for landing instructions. Tower told me to stand by in the circuit and something about giving me a runway as much out of the sun as possible. Reception on R/T was very poor.

I was finally given clearance to land on runway 02, using the left hand side.

I proceeded to carry out a normal approach and landing, and made the final approach at a speed of 145 M.P.H. The landing was satisfactory and the touch-down was actually closer to the lee end of the runway that I normally do, Just after touch-down and while running with all wheels on the ground, I noticed that I was crabbing or skidding slightly to starboard, which was heading me towards the unserviceable side of the runway. I started to apply both brakes and straightened the aircraft out.

Douglas Boston BZ403, from the same production batch seen here in England.

Part brake was kept applied until I was approximately two-thirds the way down the runway when I realised that I was travelling too fast for my position on the runway and it was too late to go around again. I then applied full brakes and held the control column right back to ease the pressure on the nose wheel. The brakes were working alright because I could feel them when the wheels came off the icy spots on the runway. Braking action was poor and we were still travelling at a fair rate of speed when the end of the runway was reached.

Reykjavik Airfield, Iceland taken in 1942

We ran off the end of the runway onto soft ground where the nose wheel oleo leg collapsed and the aircraft came to a sudden stop with the nose buried in the ground. The main wheels did not retract, but were later retracted by breaking the safety lock and making an "up" selection, and then rocking the aircraft to collapse the undercarriage.

Tragically Kenneth Clarson was at his Navigators position in the nose of the aircraft when it crashed, and was killed on impact.

Before joining the RAAF, Kenneth spent two years in the 61st Queensland Cameron Highlanders.

This studio photo of him in his dress uniform, his unit badge on the right. Like many young Australians, Kenneth was keen to serve his countries call to action, and travel overseas.

Honours and Awards:
1939 - 1945 Star.
Atlantic Star.
War medal.
Australia Service Medal 1939-45.

The S.S. Monterey arriving at Auckland, New Zealand, passing the S.S. Lurline in dock. (2)

Kenneth, together with other enlisted men of the RAAF, boarded the S.S. Monterey in Sydney on November 13th, 1941.

The Monterey was a South Pacific cruise ship, the men travelled as ordinary passengers, calling into port at Auckland, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii and San Francisco, where they disembarked and travelled onto Vancouver, Canada, then by rail to their training camps.

Kenneth's funeral cortège arriving at Fossvogur Cemetery, Reykjavik.

Officers prepare to remove the coffin.

The last salute.

Letters written to the father of Ken Clarson from Sq/Ldr. W.R. Cotton Senior Personnel Officer 45 Group RAF:

New image of Fl/Lt. Kenneth David Clarson received in August 2015 and newspaper cutting (courtesy Susan Clarson-Griffin)


Burial Details:

Fl/Lt. Kenneth David Clarson. Reykjavik (Fossvogur) Cemetery. Grave Reference: C49. 1. Son of Kenneth and Mary Elizabeth Clarson, of Sandgate, Queensland, Australia, husband of Therese Clarson, of St. Eustache sur le Lac, Province of Quebec, Canada.

(1) His brother, Jeff (Alexander) Clarson also served during WW2. We are proud in that with the help from the daughter and family of Jeff (Alexander Jeffrey) Clarson D.F.C., further details have also been added to our website.
(2) The S.S. Monterey was later renamed - Belofin-1. On the 21st October 2000 she capsized and sank due to progressive flooding, some fifty miles off Cape Town, South Africa. The S.S. Lurline, later renamed Ellinis, was eventually scrapped in Taiwan in 1987, some fittings were stripped for use in other ships.

This Tribute, along with numerous other pages of remembrance, has been kindly sponsored by way of a donation, from Susan Clarson-Griffin and Jane Dean Kenneth's nieces.

Left: Bomber Command Certificate placed in the Time Capsule 2012.

We would like to thank them for their support, along with the use of their impressive collection of photos and documentation, which we are most honoured to reproduce here, made available for all to share in memory of their uncle. The Bomber Command clasp that the family have been waiting for many months, is not now possible to claim, as a Declaration had to be signed by each of his living relatives to enable the claim to proceed. Many of these relatives could not be contacted and as such the Honour was not bestowed." October 2017: Joanne Holme who’s father acted as one of the pall bearers at the funeral, contacted us. We have since placed her in contact with Susan Clarson-Griffin.
Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 12 October 2017, 09:14

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