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Thread: F/Lt J.R. MacElwain/ McElwain DFC 2 Squadron

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    Default F/Lt J.R. MacElwain/ McElwain DFC 2 Squadron

    Hi
    I am trying to find information about F/Lt J.R. MacElwain.
    He is listed in Christopher Shores and Chris Thomas's book "2nd Tactical Air Force Vol 3" as shooting down a Bf109 on 10th February 1945. I have a photograph of him but can find no record of him in the Gazette.
    I have tried several spellings with no luck. I would like to know his first name. I think it is Robert or Bob.

    Cheers Motherbird.

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    From Hugh Halliday's Honours and Awards database:

    MACELWAIN, F/L James Robert (J20004) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.2 Squadron - Award effective 27 April 1945 as per London Gazette dated 8 May 1945 and AFRO 966/45 dated 8 June 1945. Born 1923 in Chipman, New Brunswick; home in Saint John, New Brunswick; enlisted in Moncton, 5 May 1941. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 14 February 1942), No.1 EFTS (graduated 24 April 1942) and No.13 SFTS (graduated 28 August 1942). Commissioned 1942. DFC presented 17 August 1949. Died in Moncton, 22 February 1991 as per Legion Magazine of November 2003.

    Flight Lieutenant Macelwain has successfully completed numerous low level photographic sorties and tactical reconnaissances. In the course of these operations he has inflicted considerable damage on the enemy's river transport, trains and mechanical transport and destroyed two flying bombs. His aircraft has been hit on seven occasions but he has never let either enemy opposition or adverse weather deter him from completing his mission. At dawn on D-Day Flight Lieutenant Macelwain completed several naval bombardment shots [shoots ?] at low level over the French coast despite continuous anti-aircraft fire for more than two hours. He neutralized three guns and only returned to base through lack of fuel. Soon after landing this officer took off again and flew another two hours over the heavily defended coast where he neutralized more enemy guns. Throughout his operational career this officer has displayed a high standard of efficiency and a fine fighting spirit.

    NOTE: Public Records Office Air 2/9078 has recommendation (not sure of date) stating he had flown 120 sorties (174 hours 30 minutes). The recommendation is somewhat more detailed and worthy quoting for comparative reasons.

    Flight Lieutenant Macelwain is in every way an outstanding operational pilot. He has successfully led numerous low level photographic sorties of aerodromes, Noball targets, beach defences, bridges on the Seine and Maas, taking his photographs whatever the opposition with a complete disregard for his personal safety.

    He has flown a number of Ranger operations. Over half of his sorties have been Tactical Reconnaissances. These he carried ut with meticulous care, and much enemy material has been destroyed as a result of his reports. He himself has destroyed or damaged five ships and barges, eight trains, two flying bombs and over thirty mechanical transport.

    On over eighty of his sorties he has met flak or fighter opposition but not once have they prevented him from completing his tasks. He has been hit on no less than seven occasions but has brought his aircraft back to base, landing it without further damage.

    At dawn on D-Day Flight Lieutenant Macelwain took off to carry out naval bombardment shoots on the French coast; his No.2 had to return to base shortly after takeoff. Nevertheless he went on alone. Owing to low cloud, he flew at 1,500 feet over the coast directing the gunfire in spite of continuous flak for more than two hours. He neutralized three guns and only returned through lack of fuel. Soon after he had landed he took off again and flew another two hours over the coast and neutralized more guns again, in spite of continuous flak.

    Flight Lieutenant Macelwain has displayed a standard of efficiency and offensive spirit of the highest order.
    Last edited by alieneyes; 7th January 2010 at 18:12.

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    There is one McElwain in the LG but no MacElwains.

    J. D. de S. MCELWAIN (86028)

    Ahhh, but Dave beat me to it with a Mac...
    David

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    This is bizarre. I have searched the LG in every way I could think of and not a single Macelwain shows up anywhere. I also searched the Gazette and its supplements for May 8, 1945 manually... nothing.

    Even searching Mcelwain doesn't bring him up, nor searching his service number.
    David

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    The LG site scares me, David, so I avoid it whenever possible.

    I see from Hugh's database that the award wasn't actually presented until 1949. Hopefully, Hugh will weigh in on this as I seem to have heard somewhere that some medals were sent via the postal service.

    I've been reading a couple of further things on MacElwain and this one stood out:

    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1945/1945%20-%200015.html

    under the heading of "Led a Friend In"

    Pretty safe to assume the Lanc pilot shouted the F/Lt drinks for the rest of their lives.

    Regards,

    Dave

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    Hi The LG is a bit of a maze. Have you tried just putting his service number in though in brackets? Might also be worth looking at Flight Global. Dee

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    Yes, I have heard many times of the challenges people have had with the LG, but I seem to have had a fair bit of luck with it and as I say, I did a manual search. I have now looked at all issues of the Gazette for May 1945, including the supplements, and there is nary a mention of him that I can find, either by name or s/n.

    I did try searching for his service number, which in the LG is usually listed "(Can/J.20004)" and I tried several variations - still not even a hit on one of his promotions for any date in history.

    Hugh will have the answer, I'm sure.
    David

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    I tried the London Gazette site myself, with no success. However, Michael Maton (Honour the Air Forces) and Nick + Carol Carter (The Distinguished Flying Cross and How it Was Won) had him listed with the Gazette date as 8 May 1945 and page reference 2417. I therefore went looking for the issue of that date and page number. For results, see http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/37070/supplements/2417 and look at both pages 2415 and 2417 for claification as to date. There is no citation in the Gazette - I got it from the Air Force Routine Order.

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    OK, so even I will now admit the LG search engine is bewitched. I copied and pasted the reference to him from page 2417 and searched for that - still didn't come up, even though it's plainly there, although it shows as the issue of May 4 in the index heading and says May 8 on the page itself. Making PDF images searchable is a tricky business, so I guess we're lucky it works at all.
    Last edited by dfuller52; 8th January 2010 at 01:13. Reason: clarified date reference
    David

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    To all, I tried MacElwain and variations thereof and came up with nothing. I then entered part of his number, 20004, and brought up the following:
    Air Ministry, 8th May, 1945-
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards:
    ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE.
    Distinguished Flying Cross.
    Flightt Lieutenants.
    James Robert MACELWAIN (Can /J. 20004), 2 Sqn.
    The above awards are in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.
    Fifth Supplement (LG 37070 dated 8 May 45) to LG dated 4 May 45
    The vagaries of the LG.
    Regards, Terry

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