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Thread: James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ McArthur DFC, RAF 37925

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    Default James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ McArthur DFC, RAF 37925

    Posting for a fellow researcher:

    Would like to find out about the RCAF career of the above RAF pilot, often referred to as J.H.G McArthur, particularly what he was doing from 1949 until he left the RCAF circa 1954.

    Have found a reasonable amount about his RAF career (listed below in brief):

    1936: Commissioned RAF

    1938: Experimental Section, Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough

    1940: 238 Sqn

    1940: 609 Sqn, during Aug 1940 and Sept 1940 he shot down 10 aircraft + 1 probable

    Due to ear damage from an uncontrolled dive in Sept 1940 he was withdrawn from operations.

    1947: Retired from RAF (Wing Commander)

    All I have on his RCAF career is:

    Began in 1948 and was with the Winter Experimental Establishment, Edmonton, 1948- circa 1949.

    With fellow WEE pilot, Ken Brown, he purchased Spitfire FR.XIVe TZ138 (currently for sale by airworthy Mosquito owner Bob Jens at Vancouver International) from the WEE and entered it in the 1949 Cleveland Air Races.

    He left the RCAF in about 1954 and held the UN Korea Medal and Canadian Forces Decoration.

    Any addition information on his career from 1948 onwards would be appreciated.

    Robert

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    Hi Robert,

    As he has been deceased longer than 20 years, his RCAF service file is available for examination.

    http://forum.keypublishing.com/showt...642#post753642

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Hi Robert,
    Were you able to find out more about James henry Gordon McArthur?
    I have only recently started researching into his life and career.
    There doesn't seem to be much documentation on his later career after the war.
    With regards,
    Stuart

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    Default Re: James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ McArthur DFC, RAF 37925

    Hello

    I'd like to add a few snippets to this thread, and ask if anyone can help with anything further. He's one of my local airmen, being born at Tynemouth, Northumberland in 1913.

    McArthur was the radio operator for Tom Campbell-Black's record attempt flight from the UK to Cape Town in 1935 in de Havilland Comet G-ADEF 'Boomerang' which made Cairo in a record time of 11 hours 18 minutes. The flight onward to Cape Town was abandoned after the engines suffered oil problems and the two of them baled out of the Comet, which crashed at Atbarah.

    In 1938 he force-landed Avro Tutor K3249:

    https://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk...kes/k3249.html

    Post-war he flew Spitfire TZ138 in air races, registered as CF-GMZ.

    He was killed at Searchlight Airport, Nevada, as reported in the Independent newspaper of Long Beach, California on May 13th 1961:

    Air Crash Kills 2
    SEARCHLIGHT, Nev. Las Vegas, Nevada
    2 men were killed Friday (12 May) in the crash of a light plane at the Searchlight Airport. James H. McArthur, 48, and Raymond J. Horton, 34, had taken off from the field moments before.


    Can anyone give an ID for the aircraft involved?

    As mentioned by Rob in his post, he appears to have served in the Korean War as well? He is also rumoured to have served in the Mexican Air Force. A colourful character...!

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ McArthur DFC, RAF 37925

    There is a longish summary of his life at https://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/McArthur.htm

    Also: https://www.tracesofwar.com/persons/...rdon-Butch.htm (plus photo)

    https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-...e-tz138-please

    I''ve not cross-checked with what has been posted so far so apologies if the links are already known.

    Brian

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    Default Re: James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ McArthur DFC, RAF 37925

    Thanks for the reply Brian.

    I've already come across those links, but thanks for posting them for the benefit of others - I should have done so myself, so apologies to everyone!

    His D.F.C. was reported in the Newcastle Journal & North Mail of October 18th 1940:

    Tynemouth Cape Record Flier, “A Brilliant Leader,” Wins D.F.C.
    Among R.A.F. officers who have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross is Flight-Lieutenant James Henry Gordon McArthur, of Tynemouth.
    His name appears in a list of awards announced last night.
    The official notice says: “This officer has led his flight and squadron with skill and determination. His brilliant leadership has been reflected in the high standard of morale in his flight. He has destroyed at least seven enemy aircraft.”
    Flight-Lieut. Gordon McArthur, born at Tynemouth in 1913 and an “old boy” of Rutherford College, Newcastle, had considerable flying experience before he joined the R.A.F. in 1936, for he was a first officer with British Continental Airways.
    ON RECORD FLIGHT
    When only 22 he went as co-pilot and wireless operator with Mr. T. Campbell Black on his record flight from England to Cairo.
    On a later attempt at the Cape record he had to jump from his aircraft by parachute.
    At that time Croydon airport was his working base, and he became the youngest member of the famous Caterpillar Club of Great Britain, confined to aviators who have saved their lives by parachute descents.


    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ McArthur DFC, RAF 37925

    Although my first reference (https://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/McArthur.htm (#5)) refers to McArthur joining the Aldergrove Station Flight on 14 January 1937 by that time it had become the Aldergrove Meteorological Flight (on 11 January 1937). I don't have a complete copy of the unit's ORB, but McArthur routinely flew met ascents to 24000 ft in Bulldogs.

    (Thought his name was familiar.)

    Brian

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