Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Cpl. James McDonack, 607 Sqn, d. May 1st 1941, Wick

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northumberland, UK
    Posts
    3,587
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 60 Times in 57 Posts

    Default Cpl. James McDonack, 607 Sqn, d. May 1st 1941, Wick

    Hello again everyone

    807154 Corporal James McDonack of 607 Squadorn was killed on May 1st, 1941, aged 30. The Statutory Deaths notice on Scotland's People records his death as multiple injuries due to an "aeroplane accident" at Skitten Aerodrome, Wick.

    Can anyone shed any more light on this? Perhaps an accident on the ground?

    Many thanks.

    Regards

    Simon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,789
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts

    Default

    Hi Simon

    I have him as being possibly killed whilst flying in Magister I, L8134 of No 607 Sqn, which spun into the ground during low level aerobatics at Skitten, pilot was possibly Sgt David Sinclair

    Malcolm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northumberland, UK
    Posts
    3,587
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 60 Times in 57 Posts

    Default

    Thank you Malcolm

    Sgt-Pilot David Sinclair is the next entry on the Statutory Deaths notice, with the same time (2.30pm), place and cause of deathas McDonack.

    Regards

    Simon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Simon,
    I've just become aware of this forum, and, very surprised to find that you are seeking information concerning the death of Corporal James McDonack in 1941. The reason for my surprise is because I am his son, Alan. Firstly, I am curious as to what connection/interest you may have ? However, I am able to confirm that the crash happened at R.A.F.Station Skitten , and , that the pilot was Sgt. Pilot David Sinclaire. My father was part of the Ground Crew, and, as I understand it, in those early days, pilots were allowed to take 'passengers' for the experience of short flights around the area. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the aircraft stalled whilst performing a loop. I believe the aircraft may have been a Miles Master two seater trainer.
    Prior to this, my father served in France in 1939/40 as a member of the British Expeditionary Force and, I have the diary in which he recorded events throughout this period up to his evacuation from Dunkirk.
    Let me know if I can be of further assistance
    Regards
    Alan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northumberland, UK
    Posts
    3,587
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 60 Times in 57 Posts

    Default

    Hello Alan

    Thanks for posting your message on the forum, and welcome.

    I've been researching RAF casualties from N.E. England for a few years now, and came upon your father's name earlier this year. I've managed to find out a few odds and ends from a family tree on ancestry.co.uk (including a photo of him in uniform), and the circumstances of his death from the Statutory Deaths notice on the Soctland's People website.

    I posted my query on here to find out some more details. It's interesting that he was with the B.E.F. - was he with 607 Squadron in France? 607 Squadron is of course 607 (County of Durham) Squadron, so I'm wondering if he's a local lad who joined his local R.A.F. Squadron before the war?

    Look forward to hearing from you again soon.

    Regards

    Simon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Simon

    Yes, my farther was a local lad, living in Hebburn on Tyne. At sometime before the war, he joined the Auxiliary Air Force based in Usworth. I think this was on a voluntary membership type of basis where men could meet up in their spare time & evenings to assist with general engine maintenance etc. In December 1939, he was part of 607 Squadron when he was sent to serve in France with the British Expeditionary Force.
    With regard to your research into RAF casualties from the N.E. of England, in my fathers diary of 1940 there are a number of names & entries which you may find of interest. - For the first few months, the diary backs up what became known as the 'Phoney War'( i.e. shopping, site seeing, letters from home etc.) Then, on 10th May 1940 when it all 'kicked off' :-
    He records numerous incidents, including casualties etc. - I don't know if any of these were from the North East, but the following are some of his diary entries :-
    Fri. May 10th. - 4am until 9pm intensive air battles, every machine landing riddled with bullets. Jay shot down Junker.Crew seized by Belgians - after capture, one dined in mess. - Extent of days fighting - 32 shot down - Weatheril did not return.
    Sat.May 11th. - Jay landed, machine riddled - shot German down in flames but received shattered leg. This afternoon escorting bombers into Germany bombing right and left Blackadder & Dixon did not return -Wetherill walked back from Belgium with parachute after baling out.
    Sun.May 12th. - Gore shot down in flames, baled out. Blackadder came back. Dixon landed and machine hit by bomb. Dixon not killed. Air raid sirens continuously going for past 3 days. Sample & Bowen bailed out. 5 Hurricans lost since Friday. 30 odd Germans shot down.
    Mon. May13th. Junkers circled overhead anti aircraft got it. Blenheim wireless op wounded. Co's machine shot to pieces. Escorted Blenheim on very risky Rec. - it did not get back.
    Tues. May 14th. Blackadder shot 3 bombers down. Big German raid expected. Sent to Douai 'drome to stand by. Richoftens Butts still here. Arras bombed. Thompson & Sgt. Pilot did not return.
    Wed. May 15th. Morning patrol escorting bombers C.O. did not return. Road through Vitry to Arras a mass of Belgium refugees bikes & cars, bedding & children very pitiful. Dixon & pilot did not return. Shot 5 Heinkels tonight..
    Thurs. May 16th. Refugees still pouring along the roads. Basin seen to hit ground from 15,000 ft. Humphrey did not return. Another German shot down,
    Fri. May. 17th. Today we were bombed. 5 bombs fell - one on oil refinery. Very funny feeling not knowing where next bomb would fall. Dini shot it down. Stuart gone. Standing by now to retreat & burn stores. Enemy 25 miles away.
    Sat. May 18th. Enemy bombers over 'drome 1 shot down. Enemy advancing. Dini shoots 3 more.Village evacuating. Dog fights over 'drome. Dozens of Messersmitts engaged. 4 bombers shot down. Bullets screamed down.Saw several bale out. Many fires. Every available aircraft into the air to endeavour to stem the German advance on Camrai to Arras road. Pumphrey gone.
    Sun. May 19th. 7 bombers at 50ft. bombed us. Lay flat on ground as bombs fell. Direct hit on 3 of our machines. Tanker blew up. Queer feeling lying on ground & not knowing where next bomb will fall. We left Vitry & travelled all night to Ligne Rely. 7 bombers shot down, Germans captured. 1 & 1/2 hrs sleep in the past 40 hours. Living like cattle in derilect pit house. Never been washed for 3 days now. Machjne gunned huts as men lay on ground. Everything destroyed.
    Mon, May 20th. 3 Bombers dropped more bombs but at a distance. Thjngs are happening quickly now. Germans so near we have to run in clothes we stand in. Ordered to make for Bologne & England - 3rd day without sleep - exhausted.
    Tues. May 21st. Stay 5 hours in trench whilst being bombed 12 times. No sleep for 4 days. Just before we leave two C.O.'s lost jn week. - Reached Dunkirk.

    He was safely evacuated from Dunkirk, and then posted to Wick where he died in the air crash accident 1st May 1941.
    Regards
    Alan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lancashire
    Posts
    524
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Alan, I think that you will be very interested indeed in a number of books. In particular two by Robert Dixon: the first deals predominantly with the prewar history, and is called "607 Squadron: A Shade of Blue". The other is "The Diary of a Hurricane Pilot in the Battle of France", although it does cover prewar as well - the pilot is Francis Blackadder. There is another autobiography of a 607 Sq pilot in this period but the title and name escapes me - Harry Wellham? I think the surname is wrong, but someone on the board will hopefully correct me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,377
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello Alan

    Thanks for the interesting entries from your father's diary. As a Frenchman living in the area where your father was stationed, it's really interesting for me.
    On 18th May, correct spelling is Cambrai (typo ?)

    In the entry for Sunday 19th, the name of the village should be Ligny, short for Ligny-les-Aire, the small village just west of Rely.

    Was he also based in Le Touquet area ?

    Joss

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    4,632
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 67 Times in 61 Posts

    Default

    Very interesting

    Battle of Britain Then and Now by Peter Cornwell

    has for 10th May 1940

    Flight Lieutenant John Sample #90278 bailed out

    Flying Officer Robert Francis Weatherill, #37993 force landed

    Jay is Dudley Trevor Jay #42063

    May 12th 1940

    Gore is F/O William Ernest Gore #90279

    Blackadder is William Francis Blackadder #90282

    Dixon is Henry Peter Dixon #90283

    Bowen is Charles Earle Bowen #39488

    May 13th 1940

    "Co's machine shot to pieces" is

    Squadron Leader Launcelot 'Launce' Eustace Smith #90273

    May 14th 1940
    Thompson & Sgt. Pilot did not return

    This is F/O Montague Henry Broderick 'Monty' Thompson #90287
    but on 13th May 1940 though Franks in Fighter Command Losses and
    Cull (12 days in May) says 14th May

    Can't ID "Sgt Pilot"

    May 15th 1940

    "Dixon & pilot did not return" This second pilot is F/O John Bernard Russell #37125 who returned to UK wounded. Later Air Vice
    Marshall

    May 16th 1940

    "Humphrey" could be referring to John Bernard William Humpherson #39317 but he OK - could not find loss

    May. 17th 1940
    Dini is Antonio 'Tony' Simmons Dini #40609
    "Stuart" is P/O Gordon McKenzie Stewart #41625 (Unhurt)

    May 18th 1940

    Pumphrey F/O Robert "Bobby" Edwin Welford Pumphrey #90284 (But POW quoted as 20th May 1940 ?)


    May 21st. " two C.O.'s lost in week." Second C/O Lost was Sqn Ldr George Morley Fidler 34219 BTW it is Marley on CWGC but Morley in London Gazette

    http://greatayton.wdfiles.com/local-...WW2-Fidler.pdf
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 22nd December 2015 at 14:12.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northumberland, UK
    Posts
    3,587
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 60 Times in 57 Posts

    Default

    Thanks for posting the extracts Alan. It's interesting reading an insider's view of what went on during the Battle of France - seems incredibly hectic, and pretty shambolic at times too.

    Paul - re: May 14th - 607 Sqn lost three Hurricanes, with the loss of all three pilots:
    F/O Gerald Cuthbert in P2618, crashed at Aische-en-Refail
    F/O Monty Thompson in P2620 near Louvain
    F/O Arthur Breuilly in P2713 crashed near Gorroy-le-Chateau


    Regards

    Simon

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •