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414 Squadron Mustang MkI

 Letter re: Fred (Knobby) Clarke


Flying Officer Hollis Hills 414 Squadron RCAF made the first Mustang kill of WWII flying this aircraft.  19th of August 1942 over Dieppe, France, Hollis was attacked by 3 Fw190's and was credited with destroying one Fw190.
This model is the 1/48 scale Accurate Miniatures Mustang MkI.  I modified the wing gun positions, before Ultra Cast beat me to it and I added a bit of photo etch material from True Details.  The finish is my favourite Polly Scale and the decals are from the kit with a few from my ever trusty spares box.



Letter from Chris Clarke, son of Flt. Lt. Fred (Knobby) Clarke:

I came across your pictures of the Mustang and your comment about Holly's kill.

Holly and my father, Flt. Lt. Fred (Knobby) Clarke, were flying a mission over
Dieppe the day of the raid, and they were attacked by the 3 FW's.  One of the FW
190's attacked my Dad and shot him down.  As the German pilot was following my
father's aircraft down for the kill Holly came in behind him and saved my
father's life when he shot down the FW - the first Mustang kill.

With Holy overhead, my father then had the dubious distinction of ditching the
Mustang and surviving (something that had not happened and didn't happen again
for a long time after, if ever).  The airscoop under the fusilage would catch
the water and pivot the aircraft to vertical, nose down and it would sink before
the pilot had a chance to escape.  Dad "pancaked" the burning airplane onto the
water surface, smashed his head, probably on the instrument panel, and woke up
on a destroyer in the Channel.  Apparently, a soldier in a landing craft jumped
in to help Dad out of the water.  The recently disbanded 414 squadron had an
artist's rendering of the event.  I'm not sure where that is.  Holly is still
alive and lives in Florida.

Dad continued to fly and was posted to Eindhoven in The Netherlands as the war
ended.  My Dad is the last survivor of the original pilots of 414 squadron.
There are about 4 other pilots from the 414 wartime era alive and they met in
Comox this last spring when the squadron was disbanded.  Since then, one of the
original CO's, Charlie (Smokey) Stover of Toronto, has died of a stroke.


Chris Clarke





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