View Full Version : 410902 - Unaccounted airman - 2-9-1941 (Canada)

Henk Welting
6th December 2008, 13:50
What was the unit and possible cause of death of LAC Robert A.G. CLEAVE - 1312061, commemorated on Panel 1 Column 2 of the Ottawa Air Force Memorial.


Bill Walker
6th December 2008, 16:02
Possible candidate is Tiger Moth 4247 of 31 EFTS at De Winton, Alberta. Category A on this date, crew listed as instructor P/O D.G. MacLeod plus unnamed student.

There are also several Category C incidents on that date in Western Canada, maybe it was a bad weather day.

6th December 2008, 17:55
G'day Chaps

Cleave was not a flying casualty.

The second person onbaord Tiger Moth 4247 with Pilot Officer D. G. MacLeod, was 1383207 L.A.C. B.V.S. Woods who was seriously injured.


Ken MacLean
6th December 2008, 19:20

I find only one mention of him in the Times.

16 June 1942 casualty list - Previously Reported Missing, Now Presumed Killed On Active Service, LAC R.A.G. Cleave.

"Killed on Active Service" indicates a flying accident, as the only other category for being designated KOAS was "death due to enemy action while on the ground", a condition that did not exist within Canada at that time due to our excellent air defences and also due to the fact that no Jerry aircraft had the range to come over and visit us :))

6th December 2008, 21:47
G'day Ken

I just rechecked all 15 accidents for the date Henk mentioned and none involve Cleave.

If time permits I will check one day either side of September 2nd 1941.


Henk Welting
7th December 2008, 14:18
Thanks friends for your response. CLEAVE involved in an accident 2-9-1941 and publication in The Times 16-6-1942 gives an impression that something was found re this airman ?


David Duxbury
7th December 2008, 20:13
The expression "Killed on Active Service" does NOT indicate a flying accident, although such an accident could well be the cause of the death. KOAS simply means what it says, that the subject was killed while actively serving his/her country, in any capacity, on the ground or in the air; the only thing that it indicates for certain is that they died. I am fairly certain that this expression was widely used in this context throughout the British Commonwealth during WW2 and since (and probably earlier as well).
David D

7th December 2008, 22:32
As noted, "killed on active service" could involve a variety of situations. A motorcycle despatch rider killed in a road accident would fit the category. So would persons who drowned following a ship being torpedoed - or even a drowning whilst aboard a rescue or salvage launch.

That said, I checked lists of casualties in Canada (including those listed on the Ottawa Memorial) and could find no clue pointing to his unit or specific cause of death. I did note, however, that on 3 September 1941, four members of the RAF subsequently named on the Ottawa Memorial, were drowned (P/O William M. Bishop, P/O John Richard Cox, P/O Harry H. Hay and P/O Frank J. Kruszynski). Their deaths were associated with the MV Fort Richepanse, and I assume that this vessel was torpedoed in the North Atlantic.

There is still nothing to link LAC Cleave to the MV Fort Richepanse, however, given the one day discrepancy of date. The other four were likely Canada-trained aircrew returning to Britain, but as an LAC, Cleave was obviously not aircrew. If he died in Canada, some search of Canadian newspapers might prove fruitful. If he died while attached to Ferry Command, I might be able to track him. If his death was related to happenings at sea, I fear I do not know where to look.

Another needle in a very large haystack.

8th December 2008, 00:56

Further to the loss of 'Fort Richepanse'. Uboat.net reports the following:-

At 20.42 hours on 3 Sep, 1941, the unescorted 'Fort Richepanse' (Master Charles Draper) was torpedoed and sunk by U-567 about 450 miles southwest of Bloody Foreland. The master, 35 crew members and five passengers were lost. Ten crew members, five gunners and seven passengers were picked up by ORP Garland (H 37) and ORP Piorun (G-65) and landed at Greenock.

NB Five passengers lost ! (Montreal to Liverpool).


8th December 2008, 09:51
He is down just as Missing in Flight Global of October 23rd 1941



in Flight Global of December 11th 1941


Henk Welting
8th December 2008, 13:31
Thanks friends for this very interesting discussion; "Five" passengers lost (Col. Bruggy) may be worth to be condidered.


8th December 2008, 13:34

I suppose it is possible, but why is Cleave missing announced in Oct 1941 and the others in Dec 1941 ??


8th December 2008, 13:35
PS> Would be interested in RAF War Deaths has a unit for him!

8th December 2008, 14:24
2 Possiblities

1st (Unlikely) - On Sept 1st 1941 at the 2 Supply Depot in East Calgary, there was a gas explosion shattered a wing of the airmen's canteen and equipment depot Twenty-two (or 21) airmen were taken to hospital, and 13 were treated at the base...

2nd - There was a plane collison in Canada (not sure where) on Sept 2nd 1941 which resulted in Two deaths inclusding a Civilian Pilot who Died of Injuries

8th December 2008, 14:43
The collision was this incident:

2 Sep RCAF 6141 Avro Anson ground London, Ont collision
2 Sep RCAF ground London, Ont collision


Ken MacLean
8th December 2008, 15:02
I have to disagree with some of the definitions of "Killed on Active Service" posted above. Not trying to nit-pick, but I believe it is important for my understanding of the casualty lists, and I welcome rebuttal or correction.

I refer to the casualty lists published in the London Times. The "Killed on Active Service" entries for airmen have the following qualifier added - "While Engaged in Non-Operational Flying Duties or On The Ground Through Enemy Action".

"Through Enemy Action" is the deciding circumstance as to wether one was "Killed" or "Died". I therefore submit that for non-flying deaths that if there was no enemy action, regardless of the cause of death, one was considered to have "Died".

Cheers, Ken

8th December 2008, 15:11
I think we can ignore the Collison

A Norwegian from Oslo Oscar Lütken aged 25 died, the Civilian was Robert W Reain 32 formerly of Windsor.

Accident happened at No 4 Air Observers School at Crumlin Ontario.

A civilian pilot and two student navigators attempted while taking off to climb over another on the ground the undercarriage of the plane taking off hit the cockpit of the craft which had just landed None of the second machine was injured

Bill Walker
8th December 2008, 15:45
You just beat me to it with info on the 4 AOS crash. The two aircraft were Ansons 6141 (ex W1505) and 6146 (ex R9844). Lutkin was the pilot of 6141, and had 3 others on board. Lamont was pilot of 6146, also had 3 others on board. Both pilots were civilians. Both aircraft were scrapped. Both fatalities were in 6141, I assume that Reain was a navigation instructor. 6141 Record Card records London City Airport (in Crumlin) as site of crash, while 6146 Card lists Hagersville in one place, London in another!

Henk Welting
8th December 2008, 16:43
"Both fatalities were on 6141". Who was the second fataly besides LÜTKEN ?
Oscar Albert LÜTKEN (ex Fenrik FTL = ex Warrant Officer Flygevåpnenes Trenings Leir in Canada) born at Ullern 25-12-1917, now known to be buried in Oslo (Vestre Gravlund).

8th December 2008, 17:06
Other casualty was civilian Robert W Reain 32 formerly of Windsor

12th December 2008, 23:46
I have this day (12 December) checked for a Ferry Command connection with this gentleman. There was none.

David Duxbury
13th December 2008, 21:09
"Killed" usually means simply that, in other words this person did NOT die of natural causes, but as a result of an accident (on the ground or in the air), or brought about directly or indirectly by enemy action. "Died" almost invariably means either by natural causes (or died of wounds or injuries, the former normally implying by enemy action), and was sometimes also used as a euphemism for somebody who died at their own hand, or in plain English, suicide. Incidentally suicide was relatively rare in WW2 as compared to the "peacetime" air forces.
David D

18th November 2009, 23:42
The General Registers Index gives his unit as:

Florida Lincoln F. School

Google Books result:
The Arnold Scheme: British Pilots, the American South and the Allies' Daring ...
By Gilbert Guinn

basically he was member of class SE-12-B and was flying a Stearman biplane when a storm came up, and called a halt to the days flying. Flying solo however, Cleave could not be recalled, no radios were fitted to the aircraft. Some wreckage was later washed up and traced back to him.

Lincoln Airplane and Flying School at Lakeland Florida if Im reading it correctly (at speed)

And sure enough:
410902 PT-17 40-1876 ACTD Lakeland, FL KMIS 5 Cleave, Robert A.G. USA AL Lakeland, FL

Henk Welting
19th November 2009, 17:22
Thanks Dennis for your additional info on LAC CLEAVE. This is what I already had on file:
The Times 16-6-1942: Previously reported missing, now presumed killed on active service.
Info Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama, USA: Cleave was lost somewhere in Central Florida. He was last seen departing the base at Lakeland, Florida, and was thought to have lost in a swampy area north of the airport.
Aircraft may have been Stearman PT-17 'Kaydet' serial 40-1876.

19th November 2009, 18:38
Hi David,

I noticed your remark about suicide being rare in WW2. I have two on my research list, 1939-1945. One was an airman who had been injured in a ditching and was recuperating at home. He was getting divorced at the same time as his brother was killed in the army, pretty stressful. The other fellow was a high school sports hero who was washed out of the air force, sent to the army and became depressed because of it. That's two out of 103 on my list.

Henk Welting
20th November 2009, 17:25
Did a quick look at my files and have nineteen (!) up to the end of 1943. Out of respect to these men no info by means of this forum.


20th November 2009, 18:57
I see you point Henk. I didn't intend any disrespect, hence no names used, but on reflection, perhaps I shouldn't have been so descriptive, or go a bit off topic.