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Thread: 130 Punjab Squadron. Phil Clay

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    Default 130 Punjab Squadron. Phil Clay

    I am looking for Information about my Uncle, CLAY, Philip Henry Thornton, who has passed away sometime ago.
    He operated in this 130 (Punjab) Squadron ans was a flight Sargent.
    If anybody has this Information, I would like to know which RM number Spitfire XIV he flew . I
    t would be even better if somemone had a photo of the plane.
    On this Website you can find some Information about him. The place of birth is incorrect, it was his daughter who was Born in Southern Rodesia when he was staioned there.

    http://translate.google.com/translat...en&submit22=GO

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    The link you provided provides a good deal of information, including a Spitfire's details.

    The RAF Retired List shows that he retired from the RAF, 10 years to the day he was promoted Flt Lt ie 4 January 1961.

    It would be worth looking to see what more information you can find about his BEM. His award is stated to be for 'brave conduct'. I understand that this means that the medal should have an emblem of a wreath (probably not the exact description) to differentiate it from a BEM for meritorious service - now he would have been awarded a Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM). There were only seven awards of a DFC & BEM combination awarded to the RAF in the war (see Maton).

    Colin Cummings

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    His Gazette citation for the BEM

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/...upplement/3454

    Ross
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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    He flew RM766 when he was PoW 19/4-1945.

    John Engelsted

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    Hello Paul

    As you are aware he was awarded the BEM for his actions on 1 January 1945 at Y.32 Ophoven, where 130 (Punjab) was operating s part of 125 Wing. Below are two combat reports for 2 March 1945, one for him, and the other for the Wing Leader W/Cdr George Keefer

    Combat Report of W/Cdr. George Keefer, flying with 130 Squadron for 2 March 1945:

    I was flying with 130 Squadron and was leading them and 350 Squadron on a fighter sweep to Rheine, there being fourteen aircraft altogether. As we neared Enschede at 0755 Control warned us of enemy aircraft at Rheine. We turned towards Rheine immediately and when just north east of Rheine I saw a glint below me. At first I could not see whether there were e/a there so I left 350 on top and led 130 down. As we went down I saw about 15 109's flying s/w. I picked one out and the e/a dived away. I closed and got in behind him and gave him a burst with all my guns and I saw strikes on his hood. The e/a flicked over on his back, went down through the cloud and I saw a parachute come out. I fired at the e/a from dead astern and I gave him a fairly long burst. I claim this 109 destroyed.

    Combat Report of F/Sgt P Clay for 2 March, 1945:

    I was flying Red 4 with 130 Squadron, which was engaged on a fighter sweep with 350 Squadron to Enschede, Rheine and Munster. W/Cdr Keefer, who was leading the formation went down on enemy aircraft which had been reported and which were sighted just north-east of Rheine. I spotted one 190 and came up on him from a long way off. The Hun pilot must have spotted me because he immediately dived away after rolling on his back. I was able to go down inside him and when I caught him up the Hun did a spiral turn. I came in line astern and from 300 yards opened fire with all guns. I saw strikes and either the cowling or the coup top came off. The e/a started to spin. I followed the e/a down and he continued to spin out of control. I followed to 5,000 feet and the e/a continued to spin down until I saw it hit the ground and blow up. I claim this FW 190 destroyed.

    and another:

    Combat Report of F/Sgt P. H. T. Clay for 28 March 1945

    I was Red 3 and the Squadron was doing an armed recce in the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERSLOH area. Yellow 1 and 2 had left the formation leaving six of our aircraft. At about 1645 I saw aircraft approaching us as we were flying north. They were about 3,000 ft and they approached us to port. Red 1 called up and said "Watch these" and we broke round after the aircraft which were FW 190's of the long nosed variety. I chose one and he started to turn going down and I went through cloud after him right down to about 200 feet. I got in behind him and opened fire and I saw strikes to the engine. I closed right into him firing all the time. I broke away to one side and then I saw the pilot jettison his hood. He climbed to 500 ft and then he rolled over on his back and he baled out, but the parachute did not open. The A/C went straight into the ground and I took a photograph of it was it was burning. I claim this aircraft destroyed. After this I climbed above cloud and found a number of Spitfires circling there. I saw one FW 190 on his own so I chased after him and caught him easily. I opened fire from dead astern at 300 yards and I saw strikes on the port side of the fuselage and engine. The aircraft flicked over and went down through cloud. I tried to catch him but lost him in cloud. I claim this aircraft as damaged.

    125 Wing ORB

    19/4/45

    We have had a day of gains and losses. Unfortunately we lost S/Ldr Terry Spencer in an attack on a tanker in Wismar Bay. He went in to attack the tanker and was met by violent flak. His aircraft was hit, burst into flames and crashed and it is feared he was killed. This was late in the day and at about the same time a section of 130 Sqdn ran into 20-plus FW190's and in the ensuing dogfight F/Lt Ponsford chased one of them 15 miles to the deck before he was able to shoot it down. By then he was alone and came back after trying to locate the other two F/O Murphy and F/Sgt Clay. Neither of them has been heard of since but we hope they got away with it, and in view of the rate at which the blokes are streaming in, they may be back with us quite soon. Here's hoping. Earlier in the day F/O Carter of 130 Sqdn had engine trouble and force landed in our lines and is believed to be safe, so with any luck we shall be seeing him again quite soon. Apart from these misfortunes the day yielded quite good fruit in the form of met, locos and trucks with 3 more e/a destroyed on the ground. A Ju.88, Ju.87 and FW.190 shared by S/Ldr Spencer, F/O Siroux and F/Sgt Boels. The Spitfire XIV of Vic Murphy, and Vic Murphy himself, were the subject of a tv programme "Fighter Dig - Live" whereby it was dug up from its crash site in Germany, and parts taken back to Duxford. I helped with research for the programme and was out there witnessing events as they happened.

    Awarded the British Empire Medal (Military Division).

    1331525 Flight Sergeant Philip Henry Thornton CLAY, D.F.M., R.A.F.V.R.

    During the morning of 1st January, 1945, the airfield from which 130 Squadron was operating was attacked by enemy aircraft, resulting in an R.A.F. aircraft catching fire. Flight Sergeant Clay, with complete disregard for his own safety and whilst the airfield was still being attacked, taxied two other aircraft away thus saving them from certain destruction. Ammunition from the burning aircraft was exploding at the time. He then directed the fire tender crew in their fire fighting operations and by his efforts, over 200 gallons of petrol were saved. Flight Sergeant Clay set a fine example of courage and devotion to duty.

    I also have a picture of him in the cockpit of his Spitfire IX taken in Norway post-war where 130 (Punjab) Squadron were part of the liberating forces

    I hope this helps you?

    Allan
    Last edited by allan125; 18th March 2016 at 21:29.
    Allan Hillman

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    Quote Originally Posted by allan125 View Post
    Hello Paul

    As you are aware he was awarded the BEM for his actions on 1 January 1945 at Y.32 Ophoven, where 130 (Punjab) was operating s part of 125 Wing. Below are two combat reports for 2 March 1945, one for him, and the other for the Wing Leader W/Cdr George Keefer

    Combat Report of W/Cdr. George Keefer, flying with 130 Squadron for 2 March 1945:

    I was flying with 130 Squadron and was leading them and 350 Squadron on a fighter sweep to Rheine, there being fourteen aircraft altogether. As we neared Enschede at 0755 Control warned us of enemy aircraft at Rheine. We turned towards Rheine immediately and when just north east of Rheine I saw a glint below me. At first I could not see whether there were e/a there so I left 350 on top and led 130 down. As we went down I saw about 15 109's flying s/w. I picked one out and the e/a dived away. I closed and got in behind him and gave him a burst with all my guns and I saw strikes on his hood. The e/a flicked over on his back, went down through the cloud and I saw a parachute come out. I fired at the e/a from dead astern and I gave him a fairly long burst. I claim this 109 destroyed.

    Combat Report of F/Sgt P Clay for 2 March, 1945:

    I was flying Red 4 with 130 Squadron, which was engaged on a fighter sweep with 350 Squadron to Enschede, Rheine and Munster. W/Cdr Keefer, who was leading the formation went down on enemy aircraft which had been reported and which were sighted just north-east of Rheine. I spotted one 190 and came up on him from a long way off. The Hun pilot must have spotted me because he immediately dived away after rolling on his back. I was able to go down inside him and when I caught him up the Hun did a spiral turn. I came in line astern and from 300 yards opened fire with all guns. I saw strikes and either the cowling or the coup top came off. The e/a started to spin. I followed the e/a down and he continued to spin out of control. I followed to 5,000 feet and the e/a continued to spin down until I saw it hit the ground and blow up. I claim this FW 190 destroyed.

    and another:

    Combat Report of F/Sgt P. H. T. Clay for 28 March 1945

    I was Red 3 and the Squadron was doing an armed recce in the DUMMER LAKE - GUTERSLOH area. Yellow 1 and 2 had left the formation leaving six of our aircraft. At about 1645 I saw aircraft approaching us as we were flying north. They were about 3,000 ft and they approached us to port. Red 1 called up and said "Watch these" and we broke round after the aircraft which were FW 190's of the long nosed variety. I chose one and he started to turn going down and I went through cloud after him right down to about 200 feet. I got in behind him and opened fire and I saw strikes to the engine. I closed right into him firing all the time. I broke away to one side and then I saw the pilot jettison his hood. He climbed to 500 ft and then he rolled over on his back and he baled out, but the parachute did not open. The A/C went straight into the ground and I took a photograph of it was it was burning. I claim this aircraft destroyed. After this I climbed above cloud and found a number of Spitfires circling there. I saw one FW 190 on his own so I chased after him and caught him easily. I opened fire from dead astern at 300 yards and I saw strikes on the port side of the fuselage and engine. The aircraft flicked over and went down through cloud. I tried to catch him but lost him in cloud. I claim this aircraft as damaged.

    125 Wing ORB

    19/4/45

    We have had a day of gains and losses. Unfortunately we lost S/Ldr Terry Spencer in an attack on a tanker in Wismar Bay. He went in to attack the tanker and was met by violent flak. His aircraft was hit, burst into flames and crashed and it is feared he was killed. This was late in the day and at about the same time a section of 130 Sqdn ran into 20-plus FW190's and in the ensuing dogfight F/Lt Ponsford chased one of them 15 miles to the deck before he was able to shoot it down. By then he was alone and came back after trying to locate the other two F/O Murphy and F/Sgt Clay. Neither of them has been heard of since but we hope they got away with it, and in view of the rate at which the blokes are streaming in, they may be back with us quite soon. Here's hoping. Earlier in the day F/O Carter of 130 Sqdn had engine trouble and force landed in our lines and is believed to be safe, so with any luck we shall be seeing him again quite soon. Apart from these misfortunes the day yielded quite good fruit in the form of met, locos and trucks with 3 more e/a destroyed on the ground. A Ju.88, Ju.87 and FW.190 shared by S/Ldr Spencer, F/O Siroux and F/Sgt Boels. The Spitfire XIV of Vic Murphy, and Vic Murphy himself, were the subject of a tv programme "Fighter Dig - Live" whereby it was dug up from its crash site in Germany, and parts taken back to Duxford. I helped with research for the programme and was out there witnessing events as they happened.

    Awarded the British Empire Medal (Military Division).

    1331525 Flight Sergeant Philip Henry Thornton CLAY, D.F.M., R.A.F.V.R.

    During the morning of 1st January, 1945, the airfield from which 130 Squadron was operating was attacked by enemy aircraft, resulting in an R.A.F. aircraft catching fire. Flight Sergeant Clay, with complete disregard for his own safety and whilst the airfield was still being attacked, taxied two other aircraft away thus saving them from certain destruction. Ammunition from the burning aircraft was exploding at the time. He then directed the fire tender crew in their fire fighting operations and by his efforts, over 200 gallons of petrol were saved. Flight Sergeant Clay set a fine example of courage and devotion to duty.

    I also have a picture of him in the cockpit of his Spitfire IX taken in Norway post-war where 130 (Punjab) Squadron were part of the liberating forces

    I hope this helps you?

    Allan

    Dear Allan,
    Thank you very much for your answer. I have not ben too well hence the Long time in replying. Could you be so Kind as to scan me a copy of the Cockpit photo of my Uncle?
    I would also like to thank all the other comment made to my request. Phil died in Airly Beach in Austrailia. He spent his civillian live flying helicopters for Ansett Airlines. He also was awarded a bravery medal from the queen for saving the lives of a number of People by dipping the fixed lader of a helicoper into the rough seas, (against the orders of Ansett) as I have been told by my Aunt who is still alive.. This was typical of him.

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    there was an old thread that mentioned him:
    http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/04525.php

    And in 1952
    Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_Birthday_Honours

    I cannot get into the website to search here at work.
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 7th November 2016 at 09:33.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hello,

    Interesting snippet on Clay, here:

    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article69600456

    Col.

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    Hello Paul

    Nice to hear from you - please send me an e-mail at allan(dot)Hillman(at)btinternet(dot)com and I will send you a copy of the photo.

    Allan
    Allan Hillman

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    One piece in the archive was from me Dennis - thanks for reminding me of something that I wrote back in 2004!

    Allan
    Allan Hillman

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