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Friday, 23 August 2019

McClean, Charles Malachy


Flying Officer Charles Malachy McClean
was born on 8th November 1898 at Railway Place, Coleraine, the son of John McClean (Publican) and Margaret McClean nee McLaughlin.

In 1901, Charles was living in house 7, Railway Place, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry with his parents, 1 sibling: Mary and 2 servants: Martha Rosborough and Catherine Byrne.  The family were of Roman Catholic faith.

John McClean passed away on 27th April 1910 at Railway Place, Coleraine.

By 1911 the property was described as house 5, Railway Place, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry.  Charles was living with his mother, 4 siblings; Kathleen, Monica, Patricia and Clare and 2 servants; Agnes Brislan and Ellen Bonner.  Mary does not feature on the 1911 census.  She would have been 10.  Kathleen is recorded as a 10 year old.

Charles entered Northern Bank in March 1916 at Castlewellan.  In November he was recorded as being in Head Office.

Whilst based in Castlewellan, Charles volunteered and enlisted into the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). His address at that time was Westbrook House, Coleraine.

His Service Record in the RFC follows:





Charles saw service with the British Expeditionary Force, the Defence of London, Ypres and Lens 1918.   He was promoted to Lieutenant and then Captain.  He received a gunshot wound when his ‘machine’ was shot down.

Demobilisation came in June 1919.  He was awarded the British Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Following demobilisation, he resigned from the Bank on 18th July 1919.  His staff record states that he had resigned owing to an injury received on 18th July 1919.  The same record states that he reapplied to the bank on 14th July 1923.  The bank responded by saying that "they regretted that they were unable to offer him an appointment".

The London Gazette dated 10th August 1920 records McClean as being granted a Short Term Commission at Flying Officer:

Charles Service Record indicates that he may have continued on in the RAF Reserves.  His rank is shown as F/O (possibly Flying Officer) in 1923.



The London Gazette dated 2nd September 1924 records F/O McClean as being transferred from A class to C class. 

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of 19th January 1923 reports that Lt C M McClean and 2 others were fined for assaulting a proctor in Cambridge.


Sheffield Daily Telegraph


In 1929 he relinquished his commission on completion of service.  The following information comes from the RAF Museum:




Capt Charles McClean died on 6th April 1941.  The Londonderry Sentinel dated 8th April 1941 reports his death.  He is recorded as dying at his residence, the Provincial Hotel, Foyle Street, Londonderry.


Londonderry Sentinel, 8th April 1941



Photo courtesy LibrariesNI who write "Foyle Street looking towards the Guildhall.  Buildings line both sides of Foyle Street and on the left is the Melville Hotel.  This hotel was one of the four situated on Foyle Street in the 1930’s – the Metropole, the Foyle, the Provincial and the City."