John Clowes, a timber-feller from Ipstones (between Stoke and Ashbourne) married (Annette) Rosetta Brown in Manchester in 1882.  They lived in Manchester, then Ipstones, before moving to Derby around 1900.

In 1911 John was working away in Birmingham, but Rosetta had moved to 53 Birchwood Ave, Sawley with 3 of their 6 children, a niece and a grand-daughter.

Their second son, Arthur Victor Clowes (1889-1917) was born in Ipstones in 1899. 

He married (Annie?) Elizabeth Green and they had 2 children:

  • Gertrude Rosetta (1911-1999)
  • Arthur Victor (1912-1949)

They lived at 14 Birchwood Avenue and Arthur worked as a lace threader.

During WW1 Arthur joined the 1/5th Battalion, the Notts and Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment.  

He went to France on 1st March 1915 and was killed in action, 1st July 1917, in an attack to the west of Lens.  The dawn attack was made in cooperation with 2 other battalions of Sherwood Foresters. After early advances they were knocked back by very strong German counter attacks.  Their battalion lost 13 men killed and 62 missing

It’s not clear what happened to his wife.  She may have already died in 1915.  After his death, the children were bought up by his parents.  In 1921 they were at 53 Hawthorne Ave with his parents (although John was away again).   Rosetta died in 1927 but John was still at 53 Birchwood Ave in 1939 and working in a woodyard. He was at the same address when he died in 1950. 

Gertrude Rosetta Clowes (1911-1999) married Wilfred Humberstone, a tea salesman, in 1929 and moved to Nottingham before emigrating to Canada in 1948.

Arthur Victor Clowes (1912-1949) attended Tamworth Road Elementary School then became an apprentice with F Perks & sons (builders).  He then joined the RAF at 16 in 1929 as an aircraft apprentice, qualifying as a metal rigger.  He later became a sergeant pilot.  In 1937 he was serving with No1 Sqn at RAF Tangmere. One day he was flying a Hawker Demon in formation with 2 other aircraft when the other 2 collided over Hampshire both pilots killed.

In 1939 the Sqn re-equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. At the outbreak of the war in September 1939 the Sqn were immediately sent to France. In November 1939, whilst sharing in the destruction of a He111, Arthur’s Hurricane was hit by a fighter, losing one of his elevators and most of the rudder. But he managed to make an emergency landing. On 29th March 1940 he shot down two Me110s and was promoted to Flight Sergeant 3 days later. He promoted to Flight Sergeant in April 1940.

In early May 1940 he returned to the UK and married a Welsh girl, Phyliss Constance Graves, in Cardiff. His nickname was ‘Taffy’ Clowes. He was still on leave when the Germans attacked France. He immediately returned to the Sqn and on his first day back shot down a Me109 and a Ju87 Stuka. The Sqn moved frequently, ending up at St Nazaire covering the withdrawal from Western France in June. He shot down 2 more Me110s, a Heinkel 111, with a share of another He111.

Taffy Clowes with his Hurricane. Each yellow stripe on the wasp nose art symbolized a confirmed victory.

Back at Tangmere the lost aircraft were replaced in time for the Sqn to take part in the Battle of Britain where he shot down several other aircraft.  After weeks of intense fighting, they moved to RAF Wittering for a rest.  Arthur was commissioned and then promoted and given command of ‘A’ Flight.  He shot down another Me110 and shared the destruction of another Dornier17.  He was mentioned in dispatches twice and awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in 1940 and the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1941.

In remained on the Sqn until April 1941 when he became an instructor on 56 Operational Training Unit.  In Dec 1941 he was given command of 79 Sqn, but when they moved to the Far East in Feb 1942, Arthur went to North Africa where he commanded 601 Sqn.  During a wild party he went blind in one eye and was stood down from front line flying.  He stayed in the RAF after the war and moved to London, but died of liver cancer in 1949 at the RAF Hospital in Ely.

Pilot Officer 'Taffy' Clowes with his Hawker Hurricane Mark I at RAF Wittering [Imperial War Museum]
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