Personnel Index - Detail

First Names
William Clifford
Service Number
Crew Position
Date of Death


Photographed by Bruno Gielis

Pilot Officer William Clifford Shackleton - image courtesy of Paula Wood

1/2 June, 1942; ESSEN:

On Monday 1 June, Bomber Command carried out a 2nd planned 1,000 bomber raid, this time to Essen. The actual force dispatched, amounted to 956 aircraft, the majority being Wellingtons. It was some Wellington crews from 3 Group that provided 'raid leaders', who were tasked to drop flares in the target area. By the beginning of June, 49 Squadron could boast 15 Manchesters on unit strength, of which 8 were detailed for the Essen raid. A ninth aircraft, a Lancaster from 49's Conversion Flight was also put on the Battle Order. The bombing of Essen proved to be very scattered, mainly due to the ground haze and layers of low cloud.
An SOS distress signal was received from P/O Bill Shackleton (R5794) and crew at 02.19hrs saying that the starboard engine was unserviceable and a fix given... sadly nothing further was received. The Manchester came to earth near Arendonk in Belgium, killing 5 members of the crew. Although specific information is currently not available, it is confirmed that Sgt's Shannon and Nolan survived to become POWs.

Manchester R5794
P/O W.C. Shackleton Pilot (Killed)
F/S R.H.H. Garratt 2nd Pilot (Killed)
Sgt G.J.A. Miles A/G (Killed)
Sgt E.A. Patey A/G (Killed)
Sgt F.W.M. Wilson A/OB (Killed)
Sgt R.C. Shannon W/AG (P.o.W.)
Sgt C.D. Nolan W/AG (P.o.W.)

This loss is currently being researched by Gil Geerings. 
Gil has supplied a crash location and some additional details....opens in a new window