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Thread: J McDonald, 226 Sqn PoW 1918

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    Default J McDonald, 226 Sqn PoW 1918

    I hope no-one minds if I post a First World War RAF query, but I would be very grateful if anyone can help. I'm trying to find out about a Jack (presumably John) McDonald. He was a pilot with No 226 Squadron based at Pizzone in Italy. He was shot down an taken PoW, probably in late August 1918. Can anyone provide more information about this, ideally the type and serial number of the aircraft, the location and exact date of the shooting down, and if possible more details on the pilot. It would be great to get a service number and trace more details about him.

    Any information would be much appreciated.

    Ian Brown

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    Hello,

    30 August 1918

    No.226 Sqn, Adriatic.

    De Havilland D.H.9 D2802

    **Bombing CATTARO - forced to land - Missing in Action.

    Lt J McDonald DFC - PoW
    Pte G L E Sutcliffe - KiA

    See:
    The Sky Their Battlefield.
    Henshaw,Trevor.
    London:Grub Street,1995.
    p.490.

    De Havilland D.H.9 D2802.

    Shipped from West India Docks to Otranto 27.4.18; 226 Sqn by 7.18; Failed to return from raid on Cattaro 30.8.1918.

    Lt J McDonald DFC - PoW
    211951 Cpl Edward Sutcliffe RAF - Killed (Adriatic Group)

    See:
    The D.H.4/D.H.9 File.
    Sturtivant,Ray & Gordon Page.
    Tunbridge Wells:Air-Britain(Historians),1999.
    p.170.

    DFC - MACDONALD, James. 2ndLt. RAF. (No.6 Group. Adriatic).
    London Gazette: 1/1/1919. p.96.

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/.../supplement/96 - note forename, ie James!

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st February 2016 at 22:15.

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    Col,

    That's fantastic, thanks. Just exactly what I was hoping for.

    Thank you so much.

    Cheers.

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    Dear mr. Brown,
    Lt James McDonald was the only survivor of a disastrous bombing raid that was launched on 30 August 1918 by No.67 Wing RAF against the Austro-Hungarian naval base in the Gulf of Cattaro (aka "Bocche di Cattaro"; today Boka Kotorska, Montenegro). According to surviving RAF records, the formation which Lt McDonald's machine belonged to was made up of the following D.H.9s from No.226 Sqn RAF:

    D2802 (Lt J. McDonald; Cpl G.L.E.Sutcliffe);
    D2793 (2/Lt J.E. Watkins; Cpl W.A. Easman);
    D3012 (2/Lt F.D.Kendall; Cpl A.H. Wynn);
    C6208 (2/Lt G.W.Cooper; 2/Lt H.B.Hubbard).
    Interestingly, it is probable that the formation was led by McDonald himself.

    British records show that the four D.H.9s left their base at Pizzone (aka Cimino or Chimino, near Taranto) at 0500hrs. Then, they crossed the Apulian coastline regularly and shortly later were spotted by two destroyers of the B.A.F. (British Adriatic Force) that had set out from Brindisi to escort them along the outward route. Unfortunately, at that same time the whole Montenegrin shore was becoming overcast with thick black clouds, with heavy rain and strong winds, that made flying extremely risky: a hurricane-strength Black Bora storm was building up!!!
    Arguably nobody in the Bocche did expect that a British raid would occur right at that moment (that is, with such a prohibitive weather). From an Austrian Navy report, it would seem that the Austro-Hungarian personnel in the Bocche discovered that the four British bombers were overhead only after some bombs splashed into the Bay of Teodo (one the Bocche's main bays). The excerpt that follows comes right from that report. It has been translated from the German by a German friend of mine.

    “30 August, 0845hrs (am); four English aeroplanes over the Gulf of Cattaro; [the] weather [at that time was] as follows: winds blowing in strong gusts from south-east, with low clouds, rain squalls and storms. One of the enemy machines dropped from high altitude three bombs on Lastua [on the eastern side of Teodo Bay, N-W of Teodo], but these splashed harmlessly into the water. It was at that moment that the enemy machines were first spotted, though for a brief time only.
    At one point, two of them came down through thick clouds; one became visible, for a short time over Baošić [on the western shore of Teodo Bay, N-E of Gjenović] but disappeared into the clouds while flying north-eastwards.

    Coming from the direction of the Obostnik [a peak S-E of the narrows of Kumbor, dominating the crest of the peninsula of Luštica], the other one overflew the cruisers’ flotilla, the hill of Gjenović, and the port installations of Zelenika. Having long manoeuvred against strong rain squalls, it dropped some bombs on the gun battery at Jove [sic], but then impacted the cliffs north of Castelnuovo, and crashed. One of the crewmen was killed; the other was recovered from the wreck alive, though injured, and was taken prisoner.
    Of the other machines, one crashed on the Crkvice Plateau [N of the bay of Topla], killing both the two occupants, while a third was found smashed along the road from Radoštak to Crkvice [also N of the bay of Topla], with both the crewmen dead. All our machines stood on the ground throughout the attack, while the A-A guns were mostly inactive, owing to the enemy machines’ being visible for too short a space of time.” (1)


    The machine that crashed N of Castelnuovo was certainly D2802, whose pilot, Lt James McDonald was the mission’s only survivor and was awarded a DFC (presumably, for the courage he had shown in this action). The other two were D2793 and C6208. The fourth machine, obviously D3012, managed to find its way out of the murderous maze of cliffs and heights that surround the Bocche, and proceeded to the Italian aerodrome at Valona, Southern Albania. Unfortunately, it crashed at Valona, killing the crew.

    If you are interested in the British air operations in the Lower Adriatic (Albania, S-Dalmatia, Montenegro and the Otranto Straits) during WWI you may be interested to know that I just finished writing a book on the subject (title: IN THE SKIES OF FORGOTTEN COURAGE). It will be relesed shortly.
    I hope you found the information above useful.
    Kindest regards.
    A. Casarrubea

    (1) k.u.k. Flottenkommando, Res. Nmr. 6470/Fl, 31 August 1918; in the Archivio Ufficio Storico Marina Militare.

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    Andrea,

    Thank you very much indeed for this information, which is superb. This really fills in an amazing amount of detail and I am extremely grateful to you for posting this.

    Thanks again.

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