McClean, Robert Reid (No. 627576)

McClean, Robert Reid (Bobby)

Leading Aircraftman

No. 627576, 10 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Killed in an accident on Friday 27 February 1942 (aged 22)

Buried:

El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt (Grave XVIII. G. 24)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

BIOGRAPHY

Robert Reid (Bobby) McClean was born on 18 October 1919 in Central Avenue, Bangor and he was baptised on 26 November 1919 in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  He was a son of James Albert and Ellen McClean (nee Reid) who were married on 26 December 1917 in Belmont Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  James Albert McClean, a motorman from Bangor was a son of William James McClean, a labourer.  Ellen Reid from Ballyhackamore was a daughter of Robert Reid, a labourer.  The McClean family lived at 6 Vimy Ridge, Bangor (other names of this street include The Mount, New Street, and now, Central Street).  James Albert McClean was employed as an engine driver at Bangor Gasworks.

Bobby McClean was educated at Bangor Central Public Elementary School where he excelled at mathematics.  He was a member of Second Bangor (Hamilton Road Methodist) Boy’s Brigade and he was a keen footballer.  He was described as ‘always dependable and popular with a wide circle of friends’.  After leaving school Bobby was employed by aircraft manufacturer Short and Harland in Belfast (in June 1936 Short Brothers collaborated with Harland and Wolff to form Short and Harland).  He joined the Royal Air Force in 1938 and after the outbreak of war took part in many operational flights.  In 1940 he was in action at the Battles of Narvik and that same year he got married in Scotland.  Bobby McClean was based at RAF Lossiemouth when he and Elizabeth Inglis (sometimes Ingles) Main were married on 23 August 1940 at St James’s Manse in Draine, Moray, Scotland according to the forms of the Church of Scotland.  Elizabeth Main (aged 20) was a daughter of fisherman James Main and Elizabeth Inglis Main (nee Mac Leod) of 5 Argyle Street, Lossiemouth.

Leading Aircraftman Bobby McClean (No. 627576) served with 10 Squadron RAF and he died on 27 February 1942 following an accidental bomb explosion at El Daba in Egypt.  When he died his wife, Elizabeth Ingles McClean, and their five-month-old son, Robert James McClean (known as Bobbie), were living in Lossiemouth, Morayshire, Scotland.

Leading Aircraftman Bobby McClean (No. 627576) was buried in El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS, DEAR,

LOVINGLY REMEMBERED BY

HIS WIFE, AND SON BOBBIE

Leading Aircraftman Bobby McClean (No. 627576) was 22 when he died, and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).