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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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245 crest
19th June 1943 245 Squadron Typhoon Ib DN293 P/O. Clift/Barker

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

Serial: DN293

Code: MR-C

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:

KTY 30-08-2021

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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', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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