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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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453 Squadron Crest
25.07.1944 No. 453 Squadron Spitfire IX NH494 W/O. 'Clarrie' Seeney

Operation: Recce

Date: 25th July 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 453 Squadron

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: PL227 (1)

Code: Not known

Base: Advanced Landing Ground B.11 Longues, France

Location: Argenton - Vimoutier Road, France

Pilot: W/O. ‘Clarrie’ Clarence Alfred Seeney AUS/414519 RAAF Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During the early hours of the 25th July the pilot was one of four aircraft Strafing German road movements on the Argenton - Vimoutier Road. The other pilots stated that they thought that he had been hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed on the Argenton - Vimoutier Road

During an interview with the Mayor Msr. Duclos he stated that the aircraft came in very low and struck the power lines bordering the Argenton - Vimoutier Road - and crashed at 06:45 hrs bursting into flames. The Germans handed the body over to the French locals for burial together with his id discs, pocket book and ring.

The squadron lost 3 aircraft during this operation:

Spitfire IX PL313 Flown by F/O. Leith who crash landed his Spitfire - captured and then escaped and returned to England on the 22nd august 1944.
Spitfire IX PL494 Flown by 23 year old, W/O. Alan William Dowding AUS/425139 RAAF baled out whilst at 800 ft - slightly injured (reported as a broken hip) captured almost immediately by German artillery soldiers to become a PoW. (shown right)

Above: 453 Squadron pilots with their mascot ‘Sprog’ L-R: W/O. ‘Clarrie’ Clarence Alfred Seeney AUS/414519 RAAF, F/O. Roger Bush AUS/15326 RAAF (2), Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Kinross AUS/409147 RAAF (3), Fl/Sgt. Herbert Frank Watts AUS/413296 RAAF (4), Fl/Sgt. Roderick Lyall AUS/409160 RAAF (5), W/O. Jock Young (6), F/O. F.J. Catchpole (7), Fl/Lt. Henry Walter Ritchie Sharp AUS/261892 (8). (courtesy Australian Archives)

(1) Some publications have the aircraft serial number listed as NH494.
(2) 25 year old, F/O. Roger Bush - Engineer Officer. Born 01st September 1918 in Kent, England. Married to Maisie. Prior to service worked as a cabinet maker. Survived the war - no further details.
(3) 22 years old, Pilot - Fl/Sgt. Kenneth Charles Kinross from Essendon, Victoria, Australia. Flying Spitfire IX sadly blue on blue accident - shot down by USAAF P-47 South-West Bayeux and killed. Buried at Bayeux War Cemetery. Grave IV.E.10.
(4) 22 years old, Pilot - Fl/Sgt. Herbert Frank Watts. Born 10th September 1922 in Taree, New South Wales, Australia. A farmhand previous to service, which he left in December 1945 as a F/O. 514 flying hours logged. Injured during an attack on the Squadron airfield, Hottet-Les-Bogues, Normandy France on the 13/14th August 1944 when 20 year old, W/O. Mervyn John Watson AUS/421610 RAAF of Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia, killed (shown left), W/O. Ronald Francis Cross AUS/413366 RAAF seriously injured, W/O. Joseph Armstrong Boulton AUS/420544 RAAF seriously injured, others include: P/O. R.F. Cross 413366, Sgt. Coates 14921, LAC W. Marchant 1699424 RAF.
(5) Fl/Sgt. Roderick Lyall 12th July 1944 - Flying Spitfire IX NH274 FU-V Hit by flak, captured by the SS, escaped and evaded capture returning back to his base on the 15th August 1944. From Newton, Geelong, Australia.
(6) ‘Jock’ Young RAF Radio Officer - no further details.
(7) F/O. F.J. Catchpole RAF Intelligence Officer - no further details
.
(8) 35 year old, Fl/Lt. Henry Walter Ritchie Sharp - Medical Officer - no further details.

Burial details:

W/O. Clarence Alfred Seeney. Coulonces Churchyard. South West Corner. Born on the 12th May at Goodna, Queensland, the son of Alfred and Madge Seeney (née Moore), of South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Australian Archives and to sources as quoted below:

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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), 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', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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