LEST WE FORGET

Lieutenant Edgar Percy Everard McCLEERY

Service No: 927
Born: Moss Vale NSW, September 1893
Enlisted in the Army: 28 August 1916
Unit: No. 4 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Died: Air Operations, France, 17 August 1918, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-D’armentieres, Lille, Nord Pas de Calais, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Euphema McCleery, of Moss Vale, New South Wales
Place of Association: Moss Vale NSW
Remembered: Panel 188, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Moss Vale War Memorial, Moss Vale NSW

The 80th Wing carried out an attack on August 17th, on Lomme aerodrome, about two miles north of that at Haubourdin. The strength of this raid was sixty of which ground-attacking machines numbered thirty one – fourteen from No. 2 Squadron and seventeen from No. 4.  The machines took up position over Reclinghem, and lost height over La Bassee.  During the previous day’s raid the SE5s, in the second attacking wave, found a difficulty in aiming their bombs, owing to the blurring of the targets by the smoke from the preceding attack.  For the Lomme operation it was therefore arranged that each squadron should attend to precisely-defined objectives; and accordingly, when the Camels dived at a line of hangars on the north of the aerodrome, the SE5s dived simultaneously at a second line on the east. The hangars and workshops on both lines were badly damaged; most of them were hit direct and set on fire.  The wind especially favoured the fire started on the north, carrying the flames from the westernmost shed along to the others.  The German anti-aircraft machine gunners stuck gamely to their work, despite furious attack from the raiders, and their fire hit Lieutenant E. P. E. McCleery’s machine (1) in the Camel formation.  It crashed heavily on the aerodrome floor, and McCleery was killed. Photographs disclosed that heavy damage was done to hangars and workshops during this raid, and prisoners subsequently taken stated that seventeen Fokker biplanes were destroyed in the wreckage.

(1) Sopwith Camel aircraft D1961

Extract from Cutlack, F.M. (Frederic Morley) The Australian Flying Corps in the Western and Eastern Theatres of War 1914-8, Angus and Robertson Ltd Sydney, 1941 – Pages 348-9

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record B2455, MCCLEERY E P E
National Archives UK RAF Casualty Book AIR 1/969 page 95,187477
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Richards, E.J. (Edward John) Australian Airmen: History of the 4th Squadron, publisher unknown, c1919

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