War veteran’s trip to honour lost comrades

Veteran Malcolm Cloutt, of Princes Risborough returned to Burma where his crew died in the Second World War - he is pictured with his medals and a photograph of him when he was in service and below, with cafe owner Lim Tow Soon in Changi
Veteran Malcolm Cloutt, of Princes Risborough returned to Burma where his crew died in the Second World War - he is pictured with his medals and a photograph of him when he was in service and below, with cafe owner Lim Tow Soon in Changi
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A 94-year-old RAF war hero made the 5,332 mile journey to the plane crash site in Burma where he lost his colleagues during the Second World War.

Former pilot Malcolm Cloutt wanted to honour his co-pilot John Williamson, navigator Sam Ridings, wireless operator G. Lloyd and dispatchers G. Firth and A.E Collingwood and their captain W. Besso, who were all killed when their plane went down in the Bay of Bengal in 1945.

Malcolm Cloutt, left, with cafe owner Lim Tow Soon in Changi, Singapore PNL-150127-121824001

Malcolm Cloutt, left, with cafe owner Lim Tow Soon in Changi, Singapore PNL-150127-121824001

Mr Cloutt, of Princes Risborough, also visited St Mark’s Cathedral in Singapore for a memorial sevice, where he laid a wreath bearing the names of his deceased crew members before explainingto the congregation why he was there with the help of a translator.

He said: “Their souls were offered up to God for blessing. I had felt badly about there being no one there to pray for them, as they didn’t have a proper Christian burial because they crashed into the sea. I thank God for giving me the strength to undertake such a journey,”

The final part of the grandfather’s mission was to see his friends’ names inscribed on the war memorial at Kranji in North East Singapore.

Mr Cloutt was able to make the trip with his daughter and son-in-law thanks to a £4,000 grant from Heroes Return, a Lottery funded scheme set up to help Second World War veterans go on commemorative visits.