Operation: Air test
Date: 19th June 1943 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 245 Squadron (motto: Fugo Non Fugio - 'I put to fight, I do not flee') 83 Group. Tactical Air Force
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF Selsey, Sussex
Location: Pagham Harbour
Pilot: P/O. Kenneth Clift NZ/404336 RNZAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 19:00 hrs from RAF Tangmere on an air test and camera gun target practice.
After 15 minutes was found to be pursuing a Mosquito at about 1500 feet and both aircraft trying to out turn the other. DN293 during a one and a half turns started to spin. It then recovered at about 200 feet but the spun in the opposite direction and crashed in the Pagham Harbour area.
It is thought that he had either entered into the Mosquito slip stream or that he tightened his turn too much.
Pagham Harbour is now a 1,550-acre nature reserve, one of the few undeveloped stretches of the Sussex coast. This sheltered inlet forms an area of saltmarsh and shallow lagoons.
Research in 1983 revealed that Barker had ‘borrowed’ the identity of his friend, Ken Clift, and fled to New Zealand in 1937 after matrimonial problems and a 'little local difficulty’ with the taxman!. Joining up when the war started, he trained, served and died as Kenneth Clift - the story being revealed by the real Ken Clift who survived the war.
The Tangmere Museum with the assistance of the United States Air Force recovered the engine and other parts from DN293 in September and the following winter months in 1983. We have no further information as to its whereabouts today.
Burial and personal details:
P/O. Kenneth Clift (Thomas Edward Barker). Chichester Cemetery. Square 42. R.C. Plot. Grave 53. Born on the 07th January 1916 at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Moved to New Zealand in 1937. Worked as a motor metal worker for W. Monteith and Sons in Auckland prior to service. Enlisted at Levin on the 24th November1940. Initial training with No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School joining on the 27th December 1940. Embarked for Canada on the27th February 1941 training with No. 8 Service Flying Training School commencing on the 20th March 1941.
Awarded pilots badge on the14th June 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Embarked for England on the 20th June 1941. Joined 52 Operational Training Unit on the 14th July 1941 flying the Hurricane. Then 43 squadron on the 02nd November 1941, joining No. 4 Air Delivery Flight December 1941. Finally joining 245 squadron on the 17th March 1942. Commissioned on the 03rd March 1943.
Son of Thomas Claude and Florence Barker (nee Ham), of Bondi North, New South Wales, Australia. A total of 552 flying hours logged with 103 on the Typhoon.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Tangmere Museum and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2023 Last Modified: 30 August 2021, 12:59