07.05.1944 No. 175 Squadron Typhoon JR257 HH-W F/O. Justin G. Clermont
Date: 07th May 1944 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 175 Squadron (2nd Tactical Air Force)
Base: RAF Holmsley South
Location: ‘Lady’s Mile’, Stansted House,
Pilot: F/O. 'Gerry' Justin Gerard Clermont J/14545 RCAF Age 23. Killed
We are pleased to advise that the “Friends Of Stansted Park Committee have built a new memorial, the original had been donated and erected many years ago by a Mr. Graham Alderson. Kate Tame of Aircrew Remembered attended the ceremony placing a wreath.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Understood that the engine caught fire just 5 minutes after leaving RAF Tangmere (the forward base for 175 Squadron at this time) See below for update.
Witnesses stated that it was seen to dive and then level out before crashing and exploding at 20:15 hrs on the Lady’s Mile strip by Stansted House. It is possible perhaps, that he was trying to land on this strip of grass at the time - but we have no further details on this.
Above: 175 Squadron taken sometime in 1943 (courtesy Robert Godwin)
Rear row L-R: Ned Pace, Gordon Dale, Tony Hall, Morris Haywood, Trevor Meigh, Don McCresh, Wally Smith, Pete McRae, Middle row: Kitt, Guy Vandry, Doug Davie, Bob Young, Ted Bennet, George Smith, Max Webber, Phul Diamond. Front row: George Goodwin, Frank Keatley, Doug Willows, Joe Ballantyne, Armaud Senecal, Jack Nichol, Dan Douglas and F/O. (Gerry) Justin Gerard Clermont.
(We decided to type out the names in order that the text becomes searchable and that other relatives of those shown may contact us)
Further information added by Robert Godwin - April 2016:
Returning from a sortie attacking enemy shipping and targets of opportunity on the Normandy coast. P/O. Rusty Townsend (an Australian - also 175 Squadron), was flying slightly behind Justin when he noted that the his Typhoon was emitting lots of smoke.
He warned him of the danger and advised a landing at Funtington as they crossed over Emsworth, this was denied due to an incident on that airfield so Tangmere was the next to get a call with an affirmative, but the Typhoon exploded in mid-air and crashed adjacent to 'The Avenue' at Stansted Park Estate.
The reason for returning over Emsworth and transit back to their base at South Holmsley over land...the Portsmouth and IoW defences were trigger happy and would shoot at anything that flew. Rusty was present at the memorial ceremony to Justin in 1991 at Stansted Park.
The Committee from 'Friends of Stansted Park' took these photographs on 30th April 2015 clearly showing the need for a replacement - be good to be able to contact the original chap Mr. Graham Alderson and advise him of this effort - anyone know him?
The new memorial - planned to be unveiled on May 06th 2016 - are you a relative? Contact us! (Photographs kindly sent into us by Robert Godwin)
The dedication of the new memorial to Flying Officer Justin Gerard (Gerry) Clermont took place on Friday 6th May 2016 at Stansted House, Rowland's Castle, Hampshire
Left: Order of service
Gerry's family flew in from Canada to attend the ceremony
Right: Left to right
Paul Fish, Céline Clermont, Catherine Dine and Matthew Clermont. (courtesy Robert Godwin)
The poignant memorial was attended by members of Justin's family from Canada, invited guests and local residents in the tree lined Avenue in the grounds of Stansted Estate. All were welcomed by Michael Olding chairman of Friends of Stansted Park and the service was conducted by the Reverend Dr. John Strain
Left to right: Robert Godwin Friends of Stansted Park, Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered, Viscount Duncannon Stansted House, Justin's family - Matthew Clermont, Céline Clermont, Catherine Dine and Paul Fish. David Argue Royal Britiah Legion, Lt. Coll. Tressa Home RCAF Assistant Air Force Adviser, Reverend Dr. John Strain and David Williams Royal British Legion. (courtesy Robert Godwin)
Left: Back row - Robert Godwin Friend of Stansted House and James Cooper Stansted Foundation Director. Front row - Paul Fish, Céline Clermont, Catherine Dine and Matthew Clermont. Right: Flying Officer Justin Gerard (Gerry) Clermont's medals which are now on long term loan to Stansted Foundation. (courtesy Robert Godwin)
Over 100 people attended the service and wreaths were laid at the base of the new Memorial Cross by Justin's family, Royal Canadian Air Force, Friends of Stansted Park, Royal British Legion and Aircrew Remembered. The Canadian Airman's poem was read out by Lt. Col. Tressa Home, RCAF, Assistant Air Force Adviser and a eulogy was given by Catherine Dine, Justin's niece. 'Uncle Gerry was a man we never met, we know him only through the place he held in our family's hearts. He was a meticulous man, very good looking and loved the ladies - but he was a true gentleman. We are so honoured to have had this opportunity to remember him' The names of the 24 Service personnel who had crashed on or near to the Stansted Estate was read out by Robert Godwin and a poem to Gerry (written by Robert and Valerie Godwin for the occasion) was read by Valarie Godwin followed by "For the Fallen" read by Reverend David Williams. The Last Post was played by Bugler Tony Crisp and a final prayer and blessing was given by Reverend Dr John Strain. At 12.30 exactly a Spitfire from Goodwood flew over the Avenue to honour the sacrifice of the 23 Service personnel and Flying Officer Justin Gerard Clermont who gave their lives for our freedom
Below: In remembrance. Both pictures (courtesy Robert Godwin)
17 December 1937 Hawker Fury K-2901 and K-2902 of No 1 Squadron, Tangmere collided in mid-air. Acting Fl/Lt. Harry Hamilton Peck RAF and Sgt. Robert Edmund Patten RAF. 4 April 1938 Hawker Fury K-2074 of No 43 Squadron, Tangmere broke up during aerobatics. Sgt. Matthew Henry Baxter RAF. 8 October 1940 Heinkel He IIIP. Anti-aircraft fire. Pilot: Feldwebel Ernst Ens, Observer: Leutnant Ulrich Flogge, Radio Operator: Unteroffizier Johannes Ehrensberger, Flight Engineer: Unteroffizier Ernst Herber, Gunner: Gefreiter, Hans Pawlik. 19 August 1942 Supermarine Spitfire AR-339 No 129 Squadron Fl/Sgt. Sigurd Gerhardt Jenssen RAFVR (Norwegian) 8 February 1944 Mosquito HK-374 of No 85 Squadron, mid-air collision with Wellington LN-185 of No 18 Operational Training Unit. Mosquito HK374: Fl/Lt. Arthur Bickerstaff Woods AFC, RAF, Lt. Jan Otto Richard Bugge RNoAF. Wellington LN185 Pilot: Sgt Ronald Henry Ridell RCAF, Bomb Aimer: Sgt Reginald Graves RAF, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. John Lomax Harrison RAF, Navigator: Arthur Cecil Jones RAF, Air Gunner: Sgt. William Varley RAF, Air Gunner: Sgt. Stanley Gordon Johnson RAF. 7 May 1944 Typhoon HH-W No 175 Squadron Flying Officer Justin Gerard Clermont RCAF. 2 September 1949 VT-247 Meteor F4 No 222 Squadron Flt/Lt. Arthur John MittonMorgan RAF. 14 October 1950 Meteor F3 EE-290 and Meteor F3 EE-283 No 500 Squadron, Thorney Island, EE290 Sgt. Edward William George Chipperfield RAF, EE283 the pilot survived. 7 August 1952 Meteor F8 WE-947 No 1 Squadron. Tangmere P/O. Peter Ashman Smith RAF. 19 October 1959 Vickers Varsity WF-381 Empire Test Pilot School, Boscombe Down. Pilot: Squadron Leader Nigel Graham Emslie RAF, Flight Engineer: Flt/Lt. Victor Albert Sawkins RAF. A special mention to Pilot Officer Rusty Townsend. A fellow pilot of Justin's who saw him crash in May 1944 and was at Justin's memorial service in 1991. Rusty was an Australian who joined the RAF in 1941, trained in the USA, before returning to join No 175 Squadron. He was shot down during D-Day operations and taken prisoner of war
Justin's family were overwhelmed by the whole ceremony “the most remarkable day of my life” a quote from his niece Céline Clermont, which sums up the whole families feelings and have given Gerry’s medals on long term loan to Stansted Foundation
Friends of New Forest Airfields (FONFA) have agreed to take and display Gerry's old memorial cross at their new museum (which officially opens 29th May 2016)
Burial of Flying Officer Justin Gerard (Gerry) Clermont. His military funeral at Brookwood (courtesy Robert Godwin)
F/O. Justin Gerard Clermont. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 49.A.3. Son of Joseph Agapit Clermont and of Delima M. Clermont (née Lalumière), of Toronto, Ontario. Canada. Brother of Robert Roger, Ernest and Olivette. Born 5th November 1920, enlisted on 21st October 1921 in Ontario. His grave inscription reads: “We think of him in silence, no eyes can see us weep, But within our aching hearts, His memory we keep.”
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Robert Godwin and the “Friends of Stansted Park Committee” for sending the information.