56 Squadron Typhoon Ib DN478 F/O. Elvin Newton Cluderay
Date: 17th April 1943 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 56 Squadron (Punjab) (motto: Quid Si Coelum Ruat - 'What if heaven falls')
Type: Typhoon Ib
Base: RAF Matlaske, Norfolk
Location: North Sea
Pilot: F/O. Elvin Newton Cluderay J/15371 (R/64404) RCAF Age 23. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taken from service records:
On the 17th April 1943, flying Typhoon DN478, Fl/Lt. Hawkins and Sgt. Woodfell wrote:
'Formation was returning from sweep at approx. 10,000 ft. No opposition encountered. When approximatly 35 miles north east of Cromar, Blue 3 (F/O. Cluderay) called up and said he was having trouble with his engine. He was noted to fall behind and then he called up again and said engine seizing may have to bale out. A big puff of dirty white smoke from exhaust followed by black smoke was seen and pilot called up again and confirmed his engine had seized.
He glided down to about 5000 feet, jettisoning hood and doors and was definitely seen to bale out of port side at approx. 5,000 feet, the aircraft being in a glide. He appeared to pass below the tail plane. Parachute opened after a drop of approximately 1.000 feet. The aircraft crashed into the sea and burst into flames. Sgt. Woodfall (Blue 4) followed parachute down and saw it hit water and pilot attempt to inflate his dinghy. The pilot appeared to be in difficulties all the time'.
'After he had been in the water for about 5 minutes, he was seen to wave. He was obviously still in difficulties with his dinghy and was not in it. The dinghy did not look as it if was properly inflated. The pilot seemed to be exhausted after about 15 minutes and was making no movement. He was clinging to his dinghy and waves were breaking over him. A Beaufighter arrived and having made certain the relieving aircraft had seen the dingy, Sgt Woodfall returned to base as fuel was getting low. Fl/Lt. Hawkins (Blue 1) and Sgt. Plumb (Blue 2) were circling at about 5,000 feet giving fixes the whole time'.
In the Court of Inquiry held on the 19th April 1943: 'The evidence shows a clear case of engine failure. There is no evidence to believe the pilot was injured in abandoning his aircraft which was accomplished under favourable conditions. The pilot was very experienced and well schooled in his dinghy drill. The pilot may have hit the tailplane of the aircraft when baling out.
F/O. Elvin Newton Cluderay. Runnymede Memorial Panel 173. Born on the 15th June 1920 in Leeds, Yorkshire. Sailed to Canada with his parents as a young child in 1924. Educated at Welland High School. Worked as a postal clerk for Welland Post Office prior to enlisting. Enlisted on the 02nd July 1940 in Hamilton, Ontario. Son of Horace (died 22nd January 1971, age 73) and Eliza Cluderay (née Newton - died 20th April 1960, age 62) of Fonthill, Ontario, Canada.
Husband of Gladys Cluderay (née Rosenthal, later Blair - Born 11th August 1919 in Tynemouth, Northumberland - died 02nd January 1997, age 77), of 3 Belle Vie Villas, East Bolden, County Durham.
They had married on the 16th June 1941 in St. George's Church, East Bolden, Durham. Brother of Joyce Winifred (Cluderay) Fifer. Father of Carolyn Ann Cluderay (died 22nd January 1943, age 8 months) and Michael Elvin Cluderay (died 28th September 2022, age 79). A total of 750 flying hours logged with 280 flying the Typhoon.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the National Archive Kew, AIR-27-531-7/8, Paradie RCAF Archive, Government of Canada, The Typhoon project.
Pages of interest:
Pages relating to 1943
Pages relating to RCAF Losses
Other sources as quoted below: