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Cleeve, Desmond Maxwell (1924-1944) | by sherborneschoolarchives
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Cleeve, Desmond Maxwell (1924-1944)

Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.


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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.


Details: Desmond Maxwell Cleeve (1924-1944), born 18 March 1924, son of Charles Edward Cleeve, OBE, and Josephine Eugenie Cleeve, of Westminster, London.


Attended Naish House School, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset.


Attended Sherborne School (The Green) May 1938-July 1942; upper 6th.


WW2, Pilot Officer, 40 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR). Killed in action at Portoferraio, Italy, on 12 May 1944, aged 20.


Commemorated at:

Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy, Coll. grave III, F, 9,-desmo...


Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; The Green roll of honour.


Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', July 1945: 'Desmond Maxwell Cleeve (c, '38-'42). Desmond Maxwell Cleeve, F./O., R.A.F., was reported missing in May 1944 and is now presumed killed in action. He came to Sherborne from Naish House, Burnham-on-Sea, in May 1938. He had a shy and retiring nature, which, allied with indifferent health, long made him diffident of his own powers; but before he left School he was a house Prefect, a keen and enthusiastic member of the Modern Languages VI and in all his House teams. On leaving school, he joined the R.A.F.; he completed his training in South Africa and was then posted to the Middle East, where he was serving at the time of his death in action.'


Transcript of essay by D.M. Cleeve about the bombing of Sherborne on 30 September 1940: ‘September 30th. When the siren sounded at about 4.30 we were in room 2, and we went downstairs to room 1. After about twenty or more minutes, the door began to rattle violently, and bombs could be heard falling in the distance. The look of indignant surprise on Mr [Deere’s?] face as he crawled under his desk will remain long in my memory. We all lay on the floor, and I was among the luckier ones who had the shelter of a desk. The sound of bombs drew nearer, and then came the four or five in the courts, each one seeming to surpass the previous in noise and intensity of its blast. I remember thinking that if there was another it would probably finish us off. After the last bomb had fallen there was a gust of hot air round the room. All the time one could hear planes flying around, especially Blackburn Rocs which arrived a little too late to be effective. The most incongruous note however was the Abbey Clock peacefully striking five in the middle of the general confusion.'

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Taken on August 1, 2013