Claydon, Frank Edward

Personal Information

Rank F/O
Forename(s) Frank Edward
Surname Claydon
Gender M
Age 35
Date of Death 14-01-1944
Next of Kin Son of Frank Frederick and Frances Mary Claydon. Husband of Violet Gladys Claydon, of Totteridge, Hertfordshire. Father of Patricia Ann Claydon and Frances Jane Claydon (later Frances Jane Madeley), who was born 17 May 1944, after Frank's death.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Avro Lancaster I
Serial Number DV404
Markings AS-Z

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country Germany
Burial/Memorial Place Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery
Grave Reference 14. A. 3.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 1
Panel Number 20

Enlistment Information

Service Number 130537
Service Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Group 1
Squadron 166
Squadron Motto Tenacity
Trade Air Bomber
Country of Origin United Kingdom

Other Memorials

Location Terminal Building, Humberside Airport, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Air Ministry WWII Bell & Inscribed Metal Plaques
Memorial Text To commemorate the aircrew of 166 Sqn RAF who were killed in action flying from RAF Kirmington during WW2
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Location Adjacent to Terminal Building, Humberside Airport, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Info Board & Inscribed Stone Monument
Memorial Text In memory of the aircrew from many nations who flew with 166 Sqn RAF who were killed in action flying from RAF Kirmington during WW2
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Location Memorial Gardens, Kirmington, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Inscribed Plaques
Memorial Text Memorials to those who served on 166 Sqn flying from RAF Kirminton during WW2, including those who flew on Op MANNA
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Location St. Helena's Church, Kirmington, Lincolnshire
Country United Kingdom
Memorial Type Stained Glass Window, Inscribed Metal Plaque & Roll of Honour
Memorial Text In memory of the members of 166 Sqn RAF who flew from RAF Kirmington during WW2 and did not return
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Miscellaneous Information

He was an ‘all-rounder’ and in his early years at work he was also a keen hurdler and rugby player, an amateur opera singer and became the youngest local councillor for Barnet Urban District Council. He turned down the opportunity to study at Oxford University because he wanted to get married to Violet more than he wanted three years of study. He also turned down the offer to join the staff of LNER Company as he decided to remain with the Union of Railway Clerks. He hated war; he was a pacifist at heart but thought that it was not right for other people to risk their lives if he didn’t also take part. His brother-in-law Frederick Thomas Knight (Freddie / Derick) had been a prisoner-of-war in Germany since April 1940 which probably coloured his thinking. He wrote to his sister-in-law just two days before he was killed about how he ‘had had enough but [was] afraid that the war wouldn’t be won that way’!
His mother, Frances Mary was widowed young when her husband caught tuberculosis while working in poor conditions on the restoration of Blenheim Palace. With no pension, two small children and a mortgage to pay she took in lodgers on the top floors of their Camden house and worked nights at the local postal Sorting Office. She would tuck the children into bed and go to work, returning in time to give them breakfast and see them off to school.
The Railway Clerks’ Association obituary to Frank: His many friends, both inside the Association and in the Labour Movement, will be grieved to hear of the death of Flying Officer Frank Claydon, who had been a member of the Head Office staff of the R.C.A. since 1937. He was reported missing from air operations over Germany on January 14th, 1944, and has now been officially presumed killed. A great many members of the association who were proud to claim friendship with him will realise what a loss the R.C.A. and wider labour movement has sustained. Delegates to last year’s Annual Conference will remember the tall, handsome R.A.F. Officer who spent his leave at Blackpool and followed the Conference proceedings with such interest. On leaving school Frank Claydon entered the service of the L.N.E. Railway Company and was eventually employed in the Advertising Department at King’s Cross. Early in his railway career he joined the King’s Cross No. 1 Branch of the R.C.A., taking a very active and effective part in its work, particularly as organising secretary and delegate to the London Political Advisory Council. He also represented the branch at Annual Conference. Whilst still in the railway service he married Violet Masters, who was also on the staff of the Advertising Department at King’s Cross. On moving his home to Totteridge he transferred his membership from St. Pancras to the Barnet Labour Party and was its Secretary for four years until he volunteered for the R.A.F. in 1941.He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the St. Albans Divisional Labour Party, and was elected Labour Councillor for the East Arkley Ward of the Barnet Urban District Council 1938. Frank Claydon qualified as an Observer in the R.A.F. at an Air Training School in South Africa, and after being torpedoed 1,000 miles from land on the return journey, commenced operations with Bomber Command in this country in June 1943. His many raids on Germany included record breaking ones on Hamburg and Berlin. Hh held the gunnery record at the South African school and the bombing record at his Station in this country. He many gifts and talents, some of them not fully developed, all of which, with his deep-seated ideals, were dedicated to the service of our Movement. At the beginning of the war he held – very sincerely – strong pacifist opinions, but when the logic of events led him to take another line he scorned the possibility of a safe job and, despite his age – he was nearly 33 – volunteered and qualified for air crew duties. How he hated war! How he hated the necessity for taking part in it! There was just one thing he hated more – the thought of Nazism interfering with the building up of that better world for which, through the R.C.A., through his municipal work and through the Labour Party, he was striving in a very practical way, with the able and active assistance of his devoted wife, herself an ex-member of the Association. Frank did not shirk the risk of having to die for his fellows, but how much happier and how much more useful he would have been had he been able to continue to live for them. We can ill-afford to lose men of his calibre. It brings home to us the tragic waste of war. He will be sadly missed at R.C.A. Head Office, where his high qualities earned the warm affection of all his colleagues. Our deep sympathy is extended to Mrs. Claydon and her two daughters, Patricia Ann age 4 years and Frances Jane age three months.

IBCC Digital Archive

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 14-01-1944
End Date 15-01-1944
Takeoff Station Kirmington
Day/Night Raid Night (82% moon)
Operation Braunschweig
Reason for Loss Airborne 16:38 on 14 Jan 1944 from Kirmington to bomb a target in Braunschweig. Shot down by a night-fighter, crashing in the target area.

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

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