Sgt Clift 1942                                                                                        Sgt Clift 1942

He arrived in Glasgow and was immediately sent to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre (PRC) Bournemouth.  He was apparently selected to serve in the Middle East and within two months he was on board HMT (His Majesty’s Troopship) Arundle Castle heading for Cape Town.  He transferred to HMT Nieuw Amsterdam and arrived at RAF Middle East Pool Kasfareet Egypt on 26 May 1942.  For the next five months he was moved across the Middle East stopping in Palestine, Syria, and Iraq.  It is not known what his mission was.  He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 12 June 1942.   Jack returned to Kasfareet Egypt and on 14 October 1942 boarded HMT Elizabethville to Durban South Africa.  He then transferred to HMT Franconia and arrived back in England on 17 December 1942.

Following a Christmas leave period, Jack spent the next seven months on various flying courses: No.6 Advanced Flying School at RAF Windrush, England; No. 7 Operational Training Unit at RAF Limavady, Northern Island; No 1 Tactical Training Unit RAF Turnberry, Scotland.  He was promoted to Warrant Officer on 19 June 1943.  He was commissioned and promoted to Pilot Officer on 26 February 1943. 

In August 1943 Jack was assigned to F/O Galt’s crew at No. 303 Ferry Training Unit RAF Talbenny, Wales.  On 26 August 1943, he was promoted to Flying Officer.   From 03 October 1943 to 05 January 1944, the crew transferred a Wellington aircraft to the Middle East and then flew surveillance and anti-shipping missions over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea operating from No. 21 Personnel Transit Centres (PTC) RAF Kafareet (Suez) and No. 22 PTC RAF Almaza (north-eastern Cairo).   Unfortunately Jack’s tour was cut short when he contracted a blood infection and/or malaria and was returned to the UK for a period of convalescence.

The Galt Crew

Pilot  F/O Galt RAF                 

Pilot  F/O J.M. Clift

Navigator Sgt A. Pearce RAF           

WOP/AIR  Sgt G. Blundell RAF

WOP/AIR  Sgt J. Pollard RAF

WOP/AIR  Sgt J. Richardson RAF

          


                                                                                                                          Galt Crew – F/O Clift lower right

On return to the UK Jack was hospitalized for an extended period followed by a couple of weeks of sick leave.  During this time he was re-assigned to #3 PRC Bournemouth and then the RCAF Personnel Dispatch Centre (PDC) located at Warrington.  On 16 April 1944, F/O Clift was posted to 415 Squadron.  He joined Lt Ewing's crew as co-pilot on the Vickers Wellington XIII.   They flew night anti-submarine and anti-shipping missions over the English Channel focusing on the French, Belgium and Dutch coastlines. 

The Ewing Crew

Pilot  Lt D.R. Ewing (US)                 

Pilot  F/O J.M. Clift

Navigator F/O E.G. Cliff           

WOP/AIR  F/O D.D. Stemp

WOP/AIR  WO M.R. Jones

WOP/AIR  WO M.E. Smith

WOP/AIR  WO E. Steele

 

                                                                                                       Ewing Crew – F/O Clift lower left

F/O Clift’s first 415 operational mission was flown from RAF Station Docking on 21 April 1944.  He would fly 13 operational missions with 415 Squadron before the Squadron was transferred from Coastal Command to Bomber Command and moved to RAF Station East Moor.  On 25 July 1944, nine Wellington crews, including Lt Ewing’s crew, were transferred to RAF 524 Squadron at RAF Station Docking.  Jack continued operational flying on the Wellington completing his operational tour in November 1944. He returned to PDC Warrington and was sent back to Canada where he arrived safely on 23 December 1944.  Awarded the Africa Star, RCAF Operations Wings and the CVSM, Jack transferred to the RCAF Reserve on 15 February 1945. 

A VERY DIFFERENT OVERSEAS EXPERIENCE – JACK MAXWELL CLIFT (J.18942)

Jack Clift was born on 26 December 1919 in Toronto.  He was a graduate of the Central High School of Commerce and subsequently joined the Western Assurance Company, in their Toronto offices.  He worked as a clerk for almost two years before joining the RCAF.  He enlisted on 01 March 1941.  A member of course 39 at RCAF No. 2 Service Flying Training School, Uplands Ontario, Sergeant Clift earned his wings on 19 December 1941.  After a short leave, he embarked for the UK on 8 January 1942.   

         Vickers Wellington Mk XIII – With D-Day Markings                                                                        P/O Jack Clift June 1944

Upon release from the regular force, Jack rejoined the Western Assurance Company where he worked until his retirement.  In January 1947 he married Marjorie Fellows, a girl he had met in the UK, and they had three children.  Their first home was in Etobicoke and 1954 they moved to Port Credit, Ontario.   Jack enjoyed his retirement years and passed away at the age of 89, on 25 July 2009.

Much of the information for this article was drawn directly from artifacts held by the Clift family.  Further details were found in 415 Operation Record Books from April to July 1944 and various on-line sources.  The 415 Squadron Association wishes to express its appreciation to both Stephen and Barrie Clift, sons of Jack, who openly shared information and photographs concerning Jack’s war time service.   

415 Squadron  Association