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Thread: F/Sgt. James. A. McCairns

  1. #1
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    Default F/Sgt. James. A. McCairns

    I know that F/Sgt. James. A. McCairns, (Service No. 154718) originally from 616 Squadron survived the war only to die in 1946 in a plane crash.

    Can any one tell me what happened?

    Nick

  2. #2
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    McCairns died in 1948, not 1946. The Times Monday, Jun 14, 1948 reported:

    "A Mosquito aircraft of 616 South Yorkshire Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force, crashed and burst into flames a mile east of Finningley RAF Station to-day when on a local flight. The pilot Flying Officer J A McCairns DFM MM who lived near Bawtry, and a serving airman whose next-of-kin are not yet notified, were killed. The ground crews heard one of the engines making an unusual noise and saw the aircraft bank round the airport and nose-dive to the ground"

    The Times, Tuesday, Jun 15, 1948

    "The second man killed when a Mosquito aircraft crashed near Finningley RAF Station Yorkshire, on Saturday was stated yesterday to be AC2 E Shaw. The other victim was the pilot, Flying Officer J A McCairns"

    Mosquito NT423 25/151/264/616 Engine cut control lost at low altitude dived into ground nr Finningley 13.6.48

    From: http://www.forcesmemorial.org.uk/

    Surname McCAIRNS
    Forenames/Initials JAMES ATTERBY
    Rank Fg Off
    Service Royal Air Force
    Service Number 91315
    Station RAF Finningley
    Decorations DFC & 2 BARS, MM
    Place of Birth/Home Town NIAGRA FALLS, USA.
    Date of Birth 21 September 1919
    Age 28
    Date of Death 13 June 1948
    Cemetery Name EAST RETFORD
    Cemetery Address NOTTS.
    Grave Section CC
    Grave Number 81
    Included on Armed Forces Memorial Yes
    Included on Roll of Honour Yes

    Surname SHAW
    Forenames/Initials EDWARD
    Rank AC2
    Service Royal Air Force
    Service Number 2321296
    Station RAF Finningley
    Place of Birth/Home Town Newcastle upon Tyne
    Date of Birth 16 July 1928
    Age 19
    Date of Death 13 June 1948
    Cemetery Name DIPTON
    Cemetery Address NEWCASTLE ON TYNE CO. DURHAM
    Included on Armed Forces Memorial Yes
    Included on Roll of Honour Yes
    Last edited by Amrit; 13th January 2008 at 14:54. Reason: added details from Forces Memorial

  3. #3
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    There are details about him on the Comte escape site:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.cometeline.org/fiche016.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result &prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmccairns%2B1946%2Bmosquito%26hl%3Den% 26newwindow%3D1%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26channel%3Ds%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-GB:official%26hs%3DiMj%26sa%3DG

  4. #4
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    Nick

    just been looking for his awards on the LG and the first thing I noticed was that his service number was 754718, not 154718.

    Military Medal (which Franks in FCL 1 states he received for escaping from Stalag IXC and returning to England via Spain. He was shotdown in Spitfire P8500 6 July 1941):

    754718 Flight Sergeant James Atterby McCAIRNS Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
    Gazette Issue 35671 published on the 14 August 1942

    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Flying Officer James Atterby McCAIRNs, M.M. (125754), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve,
    No. 161 Squadron.
    This officer has completed many sorties, most of them of a. hazardous nature. He is a courageous and determined pilot, who has set an example worthy of the highest praise.
    Gazette Issue 35981 published on the 13 April 1943

    Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross.
    Flying Officer James Atterby MCCAIRNS, D.F.C. M.M. (125754), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 161 Squadron.
    This officer has completed numerous sorties, displaying a high degree of skill and determination
    throughout.
    Gazette Issue 36131 published on the 10 August 1943

    Second Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross
    Acting Flight Lieutenant James Atterby McCAIRNS, D.F.C., M.M. (125754), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 161 Squadron.
    Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Flight Lieutenant McCairns has
    participated in a large number of successful operational missions. He is a model of efficiency
    and his example of determination and devotion to duty has won great praise.
    Gazette Issue 36329 published on the 11 January 1944

  5. #5
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    Default F/Lt James. A. McCairns

    Although his hometown is listed as Niagara Falls, McCairns was actually British. His father was an engineer working in the US at the time of his birth.

    His time on 161 Sqn is beautifully told in "We Landed by Moonlight" by Hugh Verity.

    Dave

  6. #6
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    Default F/Lt James. A. McCairns

    Thanks Amrit,

    Great info., as always. I have collected quite a bit now about his early days and when he first crashed but this puts quite a bit a meat on the bones about his tragic death.

    When he returned to England, l am told, he corresponded for some time with my Grand parents and with one of the other POW's parents but l have no copies of these letters which is a real shame.

    Dave,

    Yes, l have read this book. An incredible bunch of guys.

    Regards,

    Nick

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