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WO Clarence Alfred Seeney (KIA)
No. 453 Squadron RAAF Pilot
Clarrie enlisted in at age 18 in Gatton, Queensland on 11 October 1941. Not much information about Clarrie’s service is available, though the circumstances around his death are well-known. Below is a letter, from the Aircrew Remembered website, regarding Clarrie’s death written to Clarrie’s parents by 453 Squadron’s Commander, D.H. Smith.
26th July 1944
Dear Mrs. Seeney,
Before you receive this letter you will have been informed by the Air Board, Melbourne, that your son Warrant Officer C. A. Seeney was reported missing, believed killed as a result of operations in France.
It is with sincere regret that I am writing to confirm this tragic news and to let you know something of the circumstances under which Clarrie was believed to have lost his life.
On the morning of July 25 Clarrie, with three other pilots of 453 Squadron was carrying out an Armed Reconnaisance behind enemy lines in France. In the course of attacking enemy targets on the ground, it was believed that his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire, as it was seen by the pilots flying with him at the time, to crash on a road near the scene of his last attack. From the nature of the crash I regret to inform you that we consider it most unlikely that your son could have survived.
The loss of Clarrie has deprived the Squadron of a keen and promising pilot, whose characteristic cheerfulness, skill and courage, were an example to all the pilots of the Squadron, who with the ground staff wish to join me in this expression of sympathy in your sad bereavement.
Your son’s personal effects have been carefully collected and will be forwarded to the Royal Airforce Central Depository and in due course you will receivefurther communication concering these, from Australian Air Board.
May I again express my sincere personal sympathy to you in this tragic loss you have suffered.
Yours Sincerely, Donald H. Smith, C.O. 453 Squadron
An entry for Clarrie on the Aircrew Remembered website reveals that Clarrie was one of four pilots “strafing German ground movements on the Argenton-Vimoutier Road.”
During an interview with the Mayor Msr. Duclos he stated that the aircraft came in very low and struck the powerlines bordering the Argenton-Vimoutier Road – and crashed at 06:45 hrs bursting into flames. The Germans handed the body over to the French locals for burial together with his id discs, pocket book and ring.
The Squadron lost two other aircraft during this mission. Flying Officer Colin Leith was shot down, captured then escaped and returned to England on 22 August 1944. Warrant Officer Alan William Dowding baled out at 800ft with a broken hip, was captured by German artillery and interred in a PoW camp.
Clarrie was 21 years old when he was killed. He is buried in Coulonces Churchyard, Coulonces, Normandy, France.
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