Leading Aircraftman Morris Rex CLARKE

Service No: 30803
Born: Ulverstone TAS, 8 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 January 1941
Unit: No. 1 Airfield Construction Squadron, Pine Creek NT
Died: Drowned, near Mataranka NT, 10 January 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis Ernest and Florence Mary Clarke, of South Burnie, Tasmania
Roll of Honour: Burnie TAS
Remembered: Panel 114, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 10 January 1943, an organized swimming party of eleven airmen proceeded to a swimming hole, about 3.5 miles out of Mataranka, Northern Territory. The unit transport reached its destination about noon, and Leading Aircraftman Clarke, a Messman, dived into the water and came up seeming in no difficulty. He then raised his arms and disappeared, his comrades thinking he was trying to test the depth of the water. As he did not appear after several seconds, they commenced to dive for him, assisted by soldiers from a nearby camp. After about five minutes, Leading Aircraftman Clarke was brought to the surface by one of the soldiers, from a depth of 20 feet. Artificial respiration was applied continuously until an Army Doctor arrived and found that he was beyond medical aid. The swimming hole was in use constantly, and free from snags and obstacles.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/7/8

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