This is a fascinating audio recording of an interview with Fred Clarke and Holly Hills – both 414 Squadron Mustang pilots. The interview explores their story of the famous Dieppe raids in August 1942. Engagement with FW190’s and decisions to bail or head home are described in this engaging story. Thanks to Chris Clarke for providing this recording of his father and his wing man.
Fl/Lt. Clarke went back to duty and flew many sorties over France until May 1943 when he was grounded for medical reasons. He became 414 Squadron’s Operations Liaison Officer and stayed with the squadron during campaigns in Holland and Belgium. Fred Clarke was the last surviving member of the original 414 pilots who formed the Squadron in 1941. He passed away in Calgary in May 2005.
Fl./Lt. Hollis “Holly” Hills was American and had enlisted in the RCAF. He fought in Europe and the Pacific before being recalled by the US Navy. He passed away in October 2009 in Florida.
Many thanks to Chris Clarke for allowing us to re-publish the images and text for this article.
More on the Dieppe raid
Pilot Officer C H Stover flying Mustang Ia AG601 of 414 Squadron RCAF participated in providing cover for the Dieppe Raid. It was the squadron’s first operational mission since being formed in August 1941. P/O Charles “Smokey” Stover was engaged by an enemy fighter and in flying extremely low made contacted with a concrete electricity pole. In doing so, he lost 2-3 feet of his right-wing tip but was able to return to RAF Croydon with his damaged aircraft. Upon landing at speed and attempting to slow the aircraft down, it nosed over and bent the propeller.
P/O Stover continued to serve with 414 Squadron and became a Squadron Leader in command of it until June 23, 1944, when he was shot down by a FW190 and injured near Blainville-sur-Orne. He returned to Canada to recover from his injuries and served in the RCAF until May1945. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 87.
Text provided by Ron Stover