Dordrecht Society of Change Ringers
Thursday, 9 April 2020 in 39m (1–2–7 in G)
1272 Plain Bob Minimus
1–2 Harm Jan A de Kok
3 Thirza R de Kok
4 Paul M de Kok (C)
5 Wilhelmina A de Kok
Rung as a tribute to Squadron Leader Richard Frank Wharton Cleaver DSO, DFC, Ridder vierde klasse der Militaire Willems Orde, on the centenary of his birth, 09th April 1920 in Northampton, England. Squadron Leader Cleaver served during WWII, he was awarded his Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for action during the invasion of Sicily in 1943, he was detailed to tow a glider, laden with troops, still 100 miles from his target, his aircraft caught fire. Displaying the utmost determination, he continued to tow the glider and at the same time succeeded in extinguishing the flames. By this time much height had been lost and the aircraft was only 500 feet above the sea. In consequence all spare equipment had to be jettisoned, and it was impossible to release the glider at the correct distance from land. F/O. Cleaver therefore continued to tow the glider a considerable distance inland in the face of anti-aircraft fire and searchlights, thus enabling it to land at the correct place. Alter releasing the glider, he flew his damaged aircraft to base and made a safe landing. This operation was the culminating point of continuous ferrying missions completed by this officer. His Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) after his aircraft was hit over France during 1944, after his crew had bailed out he successfully landed the unstable burning plane and he subsequently escaped through southern France and the Pyranees returning via Gibralter. The Militaire Willems Orde is a VERY significant and rare award, it is the oldest and highest honour of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. His was given for having distinguished himself during the fighting at Arnhem between 17th and 25th September 1944 by having performed outstanding acts of bravery, tact and loyalty; for having shown an extraordinary devotion to duty and great perseverance throughout and having been an inspiration to all in those glorious days by having set a most meritorious example. By Royal Decree No.29, dated July 31st, 1945.
A band arranged by Squadron Leader Cleaver's daughter, Gillian R. Glover, was due to be in Dordrecht to ring a commemorative peal today, Gill and the band are grateful to the de Kok family for making sure a commemoration took place.
First quarter peal: 5
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