Reid, Charles Clifford

Charles Clifford Reid was born in the December quarter of 1923 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/31A/27) the son of Clarence Reginald  & Catherine M. Reid (nee Evans) who, I believe married in Oswestry in the  September Quarter of 1910 (Oswestry Vol.6a, Page 1472).

The father of Charles Clifford Reid, Clarence Reginald Reid, had been born into a single parent family, as according to the Clarence Reginald Reed in the London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1916 ( Page 15 No.119 Aug or Sept 1889 (Private)  Clarence Reginald s/o Annie REED (sic) 21, Penton Place, Single Person.   Rev. A. Wardroper V. of All Saints, Islington. (This was written in the middle of the entries between 3rd June and the 10th June 1888????)

I find him in the 1901 census living Barnes Home part of Industrial School for Boys in Heaton Norris :-

REED,(sic) Clarence Reginald  age 13 Tailor born London, Middlesex.   This may be because of his birth circumstances, I.e. being born illegitimate of because he may have been in trouble, or indeed being an orphan, or just in a poor family, but he was being taught a trade as a Tailor, which is what these Schools did.   Please click on this website to get an insight into these schools, including the Heaton Norris one:-

By the 1911 census, on the night of the 2nd of April, when the census was taken, Clarence, 23 , and his new wife Catherine, 21,  were living at 13, Prince Street, Oswestry, Shropshire.    He was head of the household and they tell us that they had been married for 1 year and no children had been born to them.   Clarence is described as a Tailor, born Chelsea, Middlesex and Catherine May, born in Oswestry.

The couple were living at 8, Butler Street, Shotton when Clarence Reginald REID, Regimental No. 92719, enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery on the 13th of June 1916, (I have his Attestation Papers, if you would like them, please contact the website).   These documents tell us among other things that Charles Reginald was born circa 1888.

The 1921 census, which was taken on the 19th of June 1921 tells us that the family were still living at 8, Butler Street and their family had expanded.   Clarence Reginald Reid was still head of the household and having returned to his family after being demobbed in the September of 1919.   The 1921 census tells us that he is now 34 years and 1 month old, he had been born in Chelsea, London and he was a Tailor, but “Out of Work.”  Catherine May Reid was now 32 years and 1 month old and was doing “Home Duties.”   Their children wee Christopher Ronald Reid, 8 years and 6 months old born in Oswestry, Salop and Alice May Reid, 3 years and 9 months old, born in Shotton, Flintshire.   There were 2 visitors, a Shipwright and his wife, Daniel & Nellie Munn.

As stated previously, Charle Clifford was born in The December quarter of 1923, I have no information on his early and teenage years, except when he passed his exams and entered Hawarden County School: –

Hawarden Grammar School Admissions Register E/GS/1/10

1802/2633 REID, Clifford Charles    Date of birth 12th October 1923, 102, Church Street, Connah’s Quay (crossed out), 9, Primrose Street, Connah’s Quay (Crossed out), 37, Nelson Street, Shotton, father – Ironworker, date of entry – 17th September 1935, Connah’s Quay Cl., £3/10/0, date of leaving 23rd December 1937 – Printer.

Clarence Reginald married Catherine May EVANS, in the September Quarter of 1910 (Oswestry  Vol. 6a  Page 1472.

Clarence Reginald Reid in the British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 tells us a few more details, such as their marriage date – 17 Sep 1910 in Oswestry.   It seems that he enlisted in 1916 and he was living at 8, Butler Street, Shotton, Regimental No.  – 92719, Regiment -Royal Garrison Artillery.   Particulars of Children – Christopher Ronald born 24th December 1912 – Oswestry, Douglas Leman born 1st November 1914 Oswesty, Alice May born 16th September 1917  Shotton

Charles Clifford Reid was born after any published Census, so I have no details of his childhood or life until, he is seen on the 1939 National Register with his family, living at 1 Clarence Street , Shotton. This National Register was taken on the 29th September 1939.   Clarence Reginald’s date of birth was the 22nd May 1889 and he was a Ironworker Loader Heavy Work.   Katherine (sic) May Reid’s date of birth was the 6th May 1889 and she is unusually for this register described as a Housewife.  Charles Clifford’s date of birth was the 12th October 1923 and he was an Apprentice Printer and single.   Clarence R.(Jnr.) is described as a Butcher’s Errand Boy and his date of birth was  the 16th May 1925.  It looks as though there were 3 Boarders in the household as well all working at the Steelworks.

Charles Clifford’s brother Christopher was living at 8, Cestrian Street, on the same National Register with his wife Sarah M. and there were 2 Closed Records as well, they may have been children.

As Charles Clifford Reid is seen on the 1939 National Register, he mustn’t have enlisted  up to the 29th September 1939 when the Register was taken.

However we do know from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  that Charles was in the 83 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, but I have found no personal documents.

No. 135 – Reid,  C. C. Sergeant  Bomber Command  83 Sqd  1943-12-16  Lancaster III  JB344  OL-K   Wyton Take-off 1639       Berlin    Crashed at base on return. Injured.

I have the Royal Air Force Record book entries for the 83rd Sqn for the night of the 17th December 1943 (National Archives, Catalogue Reference:AIR/27/687) when the Sqn was bombing  Berlin.   14 planes “went up” starting at 16.26, the last one at 16.40, from RAF Wyton, and Charles is listed on the Aircraft Lancaster “K” J.B.344.   His aircraft “went up” at 16.39 on the 16th December and crashed on landing owing to nil visibility, no fires seen, at  00.40 on the 17th December 1943.

The list of the crew:-

P/O. McLean F.E.*

Sgt. Day, H.

F/S. Lindsey, R.A.

Sgt. Henderson, J.

F/S. Tankard, V.G.**

F/S. Fairthorn, L.E.

Sgt. Reid, C.C.

Details of the Sortie or Flight:-

Bombed T.I. red at 19.58 hours 19,000’ 120 degrees M. 150 knots 10/10 cloud tops 5,000’ vis good.   First T.I. red went down at 19.57 hours.   A fairly good concentration was achieved.   No fires seen aircraft crashed on landing owing to nil visibility.

*P/O. McLean F.E. – Died 14th August 1944 Lancaster ND854  lost at sea off coast of Brest.  Body washed up, buried at Camaret-sur-Mer communal cemetery.*

**F/S. Tankard, V.G.   – died in same crash as Charles Reid.  Buried at Cambridge City Cemetery.

I asked for the help of WW2talk, a Forum that has helped me so much tell the stories of these men from WW2.   I needed to know why he is buried in Hawarden.  I am so grateful for their expertise, many thanks to the members of the Forum.

Highland replied – You state he crashed on landing which suggests he was returning back to base in UK. The flight times certainly suggest that too, approx. 4 hours to target and approx. 4 hours home.    Have to find out where the crash was.  Assuming he took and off and returned to Wyton.

Sheldrake replied- Reid is the only fatal casualty listed for 83 Sqn in the CWGC for that night. The other crew members must have survived the crash landing, which given the phrase “crashed on landing” must have been in the UK.  WW2 aircraft were not easy to fly. There were many accidents on takeoff and landing.   Between September 1939 – May 1945 RAF Bomber Command lost 47,268 men killed on operations. Another 8,303 killed in flying or training accidents. A proportion of those lost on operations were also due to flying accidents – crashes and collisions. Probably one in six fatalities were from accidents.  Sheldrake.

Harry Ree replied adding:-

A raid associated with the bomber offensive on Berlin, dubbed the Battle of Berlin which took place from 18 November 1943 to 24 March 1944 using the heavy bomber force leading to unsustainable losses.  Berlin was bombed many times to the end of the war but using Mosquitos of the Light Night Striking Force.  Shortly afterwards, the Bomber Command heavy force was given the task of concentrating on targets in preparation for the Normandy invasion.  16/17 December 1943 was a black night for returning Bomber Command aircraft….poor weather, low cloud and fog over home airfields caused 29 Lancasters to crash with the PFF Squadron No 97 Squadron (sister squadron to No 83 Squadron within No 8 Group PFF.. both on loan from No 5 Group) losing 7 aircraft….148 crew killed on crashing,6 lost at sea and 39 injured recorded.

Regarding the crew of Lancaster JB 344 OL-K   – Sergeant C.C Reid, Rear Gunner is recorded as being injured on the crash and may have died in the RAF Wyton SSQ.

Flight Sergeant V.C Tankard…. may have been the Bomb Aimer was killed during the crash and is interred at Cambridge City Cemetery.  The other five crew are recorded as injured.  As it was, the bomber force was routed to Berlin over the Ruhr and Northern Germany.   It fared better on the return leg via Denmark.  However with 25 Lancasters lost over Germany including on the return leg and 29 Lancasters lost over England, the losses represented the loss of two squadrons. Kyle (Mr. Jinks)

A relative of Reid has published a comment/research in which an attempted rescue earned a BEM ? Article here;-  Taken from the website:-

“25th June 1942: Third thousand bomber raid hits Bremen

Roy Harper August 10, 2015 at 4:33 pm

During the evening of 17th December 1943, my uncle’s brother, Sgt. Charles Clifford Reid, Service No. 1459932 of RAF No.83 Squadron based at Wyton, then Huntingdonshire, was tragically killed as the rear gunner of Lancaster bomber JB344 OL-K during the Battle of Berlin. He was a member of the Pathfinder Force who flew ahead of the main bomber fleet to illuminate the targets. The aircraft had completed its mission successfully and had returned to base fully intact, but crashed on landing on the runway at Wyton which had become enshrouded in dense fog with the loss of two crew members. 

My research into the events during that tragic evening have unveiled an astonishing act of bravery by one of my relative’s crew mates. The Lancaster caught fire immediately on crash landing at Wyton and quickly became a blazing inferno as the aviation fuel ignited. The young navigator, Sgt. Robert Alfred Lindsay, Service No. 267765 of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was thrown through the cockpit of the aircraft and landed on the tarmac fifty feet away. He received horrific injuries including a broken arm, ankle and terrible burns and other injuries to his face and body. Despite this and undoubtedly suffering agonising pain and having only limited mobility, he somehow returned to the blazing aircraft with an imminent explosion likely and dragged two of his fellow crew mates who had not emerged to safety. For his act of gallantry, Sgt. Lindsay was awarded the BEM, the least that could be expected for such bravery. 

Other crew members were: Pilot Officer Francis Eric Mclean, Service No. 413091 of the RAAF; Flight Sergeant Vincent Gregory Tankard, Service No. 410269 of the RAAF (who was sadly killed along with Sgt. Reid); Sgt. John Henderson, Service No. 1075987 of the RAF; Sgt. Lawrence Edward Faithorn, Service No. 422471 of the RAAF and Sgt. H. Day of the RAF.

If anyone has any further information about any of the crew members of Lancaster JB344 OL-K I would be delighted to receive it.”

Kyle (Mr. Jinks)  Thanks again for more information sent to me by Kyle (Mr Jink)

Alieneyes replied:- As Tankard, McLean and Faithorn were RAAF there is plenty of info in Tankard’s A705:-…eports/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=1081662&isAv=N

McLean, Faithorn and a new crew were killed 14 August 1944. Lancaster ND854, lost at sea off Brest. McLean washed ashore at Cameret and buried at Camaret-sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, while the other six are commemorated on Runnymede.    Dave

 In terms of organisation RAF Wyton was part of the combined station RAF Brampton Wyton Henlow, a merger of Wyton with two previously separate bases, RAF Brampton and RAF Henlow. Wyton is the largest of the three. It is home to Equipment Support (Air) and Corporate Technical Services. The airfield is now decommissioned but was used for flight training by 57(R) Squadron EFT, the University Air Squadrons of London and Cambridge and No. 5 Air Experience Flight.


During the Second World War it was used primarily as a bomber base, flying Bristol Blenheim, de Havilland Mosquito and Avro Lancaster aircraft. In 1942 it became the home of the Pathfinder Force under the command of Group Captain Don Bennett.

Charles Clifford is also remembered on the International Bomber Command Website : –



Start Date            16-12-1943

End Date              16-12-1943

Takeoff Station Wyton

Day/Night Raid  Night

Operation           Berlin

Reason for Loss : – Crashed and caught fire attempting to land at Wyton in poor visibility.

Addendum, It seems that Clarence Reginald was to live to a grand old age, if this death certificate is his:- Clarence Reginald Reid  in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 :-

Name:  Clarence Reginald Reid

Death Age:         94

Birth Date:          22 Apr 1887*

Registration Date:            Mar 1982

Registration district:        Northallerton

Inferred County:              North Yorkshire

Volume:               2

*Month wrong, should be May according to the 1939 Register.

However Charles Clifford Reid was remembered by his family as his name was put forward to be added to the War Memorial, so he was well loved and will be remembered.  He is also remembered on the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial, and the Hawarden Grammar School Roll of Honour, please click on the link

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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