Tribute to the fallen: Clifford Harris Drewer

Tribute to the fallen: Clifford Harris Drewer

It will be 80 years on June 24 since local teacher and serviceman Clifford Harris Drewer made the supreme sacrifice during World War 11.

His valour is honoured on war memorials in his home town of Millicent as well as Bordertown where he taught for eight years.

Born in Millicent on February 22, 1910, this studio portrait of 417818 Pilot Officer Clifford Harris Drewer was taken shortly after graduating from navigator training in Australia.

It is held in the collection of the Australian War Memorial.

He had enlisted in the RAAF in Adelaide on July 18, 1942 and this was two days after he was granted indefinite leave from the Education Department of South Australia.

Later promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt), he was seconded to the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom and attached to No. 7 Squadron.

While on operations over France, Flt Lt Drewer was killed in action on 24 June 1944, aged 34.

His Lancaster bomber aircraft was reported to have crashed at approximately 1am in a field near the village of Warhem, France.

The remains of the crew were buried in a communal grave at Warhem cemetery, France.

His entire working life had been devoted to teaching and he had trained as a junior teacher at Murray Bridge High School.

For Mr Drewer, his first official teaching appointment was made just before his 20th birthday as he was allocated to Bordertown Higher Primary School from New Year’s Day, 1930.

He remained at this school until the end of 1937.

The rest of his teaching career was spent at the Adelaide schools of Highgate Primary (1938-9), Croydon Boys Junior Technical (1940-41) and Le Fevere Junior Technical (1942-44).

Mr Drewer had passed Science subjects at the University of Adelaide in 1941.

His inspector’s reports had contained such remarks as “alert”, “effective”, “enthusiastic”, “gentlemanly” and “diligent”.

Following the war, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission erected a headstone over his grave.

At the request of his family, it carries the words “Thy will be done” from the Lord’s Prayer.

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