M.547 First Officer  Cletus Lloyd 'Clyde' Park 

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b. 9 Jul 1909, Salem in Dent, MO  15 May 1941 to Jan-42 

 

ata cletus park

Houston Post, October 1941

     

 

His father was Jesse L Park, mother Lula, and he had a brother and two married sisters: Sanford R, Mrs Alice Hendricks, and Mrs Lucile Faulk.

I'm not sure how he came to be accepted for the ATA; his May 1941 flight test at Uplands Airport, Ottawa, said "This applicant carried out a very poor test and due to nervousness he is not considered suitable for ferry work. FLYING WAS DANGEROUS."

This article appeared in  the 'Houston Post' in 1941:

"Ferrying planes around on the British Isles is a tough job because there is so much fog. Take it from Clyde L Park, a 29-year-old former Houstonian who is now in England doing just that for the British Government.

Mr. Park started learning to fly at the Cunningham Airport in Houston last January. After 35 hours of instruction he obtained his private licence. Then he hitchhiked to Canada and received five months of training at a Canadian government school.

Park ferried a bomber to England for the RAF and stayed in Englnad to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary. He is stationed now at the White Waltham airdrome at Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.

In a letter written Sept 14 to "all the gang" at Cunningham Airport, which bore a sticker, "opened by examiner 1541", Park said, "I will try to tell you what little I can about England and my flying here."

Scissors had been used on the letter, to clip out parts of a sentence in which Park apparently had told how long it took to cross the Atlantic and at what port he landed.

"We came to London by train", he wrote. "There were 12 US pilots and we sure blew our top the first two nights in London. Night life is quite gay in the old city, but part of it sure has been hit hard. They sent us on to White Waltham airdrome where they gave us two months training, ground school and flying. My first ship they put me in was a Harvard, which is the North American trainer with a constant speed prop, flaps and retractable gear. Boy, did I have my hands full? Ha!"

"I had an English instructor and he had a lot of patience or I never would have made it. He soloed me in two hours and I got about 10 hours on the Harvard. I went from there to [Lysanders], Battles, Hurricanes, then Spits."

"I have flown every single motor type of aircraft they have and I think the Spitfire is the sweetest one of them all. It is fast as hell but very easy to handle and doesn't have any bad tricks."

"We ferry all over the British Isles and when we have had a few months' experience on single motors they send us back to school and give us twin motor conversion. I am about due for my twins now."

"I like the job OK if the weather would stay good. But this stuff is hell, you can't tell 15 minutes ahead what it is like. We have lost two of the boys that came over with me. One flew into the hills in Scotland and the other flew into the Irish Sea. The damn soup closed in on them."

"It is good experience as we get to fly so many different types of aircraft, and it shakes you sometimes when you get one that you know nothing about where all the knobs and gadgets are. All they give us is notes on the take off, revs and cruise and you have to figure the rest out."

"Did you know Clyde Forman? He is here, doing OK. He was on the boat with Nance and one of three that got here."

Park said his rating now is first officer, with two stripes in the shoulder."


Hawker Hind

d. 30 Jan 1942 (Died in ATA Service) - Hind K6838 crashed into high ground on Eaglesham Moor 10mi S of Glasgow in snowstorm. He had failed to get a weather forecast for the route before taking off.

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... And I found this photo in his file:

ata cletus park photo in file

but I don't know who she is ...


 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):

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