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McNEILL, F/L John Gordon (J9201) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.426 Squadron - Award effective 6 August 1943 as per London Gazette dated 13 August 1943 and AFRO 1849/43 dated 10 September 1943. Born in Calgary, April 1919; home there. Former member, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (1934 to RCAF). Enlisted in Kingston, Ontario, 10 June 1940. To No.1 ITS, 24 June 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 19 July 1940 when posted to No.5 EFTS. His postings and ranks become very peculiar; promoted Corporal “AU” on 23 April 1941; reverts to LAC, 29 August 1941; to No.3 SFTS, 12 September 1941; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 5 December 1941 but then commissioned with effect of same date. To “Y” Depot, 20 December 1941. To RAF overseas, 7 January 1942. Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 15 February 1943. Promoted Squadron Leader, 1 January 1944. Participated in first operation of No.426 Squadron. Subsequently on staff of No.1679 Heavy Conversion Flight. With that unit, 2 September 1943, he took off on 2 September 1943 in Lancaster II DS635 at 2100 hours from Eastmoor for night training. While airborne the port outer engine failed and the crew returned to base. Touched down at 2125 hours, but aircraft swung from runway and lost its undercarriage. It slid to a stop but fire broke out, ultimately destroying the machine. Medal presented during King\'s visit to No.6 Group, 11 August 1944. RCAF photo PL-31683 (ex UK-13561) shows him talking to the King following investiture. As Wing Commander, killed in flying accident over Yorkshire (mid-air collision, Halifax NA609, No.415 Squadron), 21 August 1944.
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The fine fighting spirit displayed by this officer has been an inspiration to the rest of the squadron. He has taken part in may recent heavy raids on the Ruhr and on one occasion in April 1943 completed his mission successfully although one engine failed while his aircraft was hotly engaged by the defences. As deputy flight commander he has rendered valuable assistance in the operational training of new crews and has contributed much to the high morale maintained in the squadron.

DHH file 181.009 D.2624 (Library and Archives Canada RG.24 Volume 20628) has recommendation by W/C L.Crooks drafted 14 June 1943 when he had flown 24 sorties (145 hours 50minutes). Sortie list (similar to that of Flight Sergeant James H. Evans) and submission as follows:

14 January 1943 - Lorient (5.14)
21 January 1943 - Gardening (5.12)
26 January 1943 - Lorient (6.50)
29 January 1943 - Lorient (5.45)
4 February 1943 - Lorient (6.40)
7 February 1943 - Lorient (4.00)
13 February 1943 - Lorient (10.10)
14 February 1943 - Cologne (5.50)
16 February 1943 - Lorient (7.15)
19 February 1943 - Wilhelmshaven (6.05)
25 February 1943 - Gardening (4.20)
23 March 1943 - Gardening (4.20)
26 March 1943 - Duisburg (5.20)
28 March 1943 - St. Nazaire (6.50)
29 March 1943 - Bochum (5.45)
4 April 1943 - Kiel (6.20)
8 April 1943 - Duisburg (3.51)
10 April 1943 - Frankfurt (7.45)
14 April 1943 - Stuttgart (7.10)
16 April 1943 - Mannheim (8.10)
28 April 1943 - Gardening (5.48)
13 May 1943 - Bochum (5.35)
25 May 1943 - Dusseldorf (5.00)
27 May 1943 - Essen (5.05)
29 May 1943 - Wuppertal (5.50)

The fine offensive spirit displayed by this officer has been an inspiration to the rest of the squadron. He has taken part in many of the recent heavy raids on the Ruhr and on one occasion in April carried out his mission in spite of the fact that one engine cut out while he was hotly engaged by the Ruhr defences.

As deputy flight commander he has rendered valuable assistance in the operational training of new crews and has at all times contributed to the maintenance of the high level of squadron morale. I recommend the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.


McNICOL, F/L William James (J10419) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.433 Squadron - Award effective 3 October 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2534/44 dated 24 November 1944. Born in Meyronne, Saskatchewan, December 1920; home there; enlisted in Regina, 28 April 1941. To No.2 Manning Depot, 15 May 1941. To No.7 Equipment Depot, 20 June 1941. To No.4 ITS, 13 July 1941; graduated and promoted LAC, 14 August 1941 when posted to No.2 AOS; graduated 19 December 1941 and posted next day to No.8 BGS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 31 January 1942) when posted to No.1 ANS; graduated and commissioned 4 March 1942. To “Y” Depot, 5 March 1942. To overseas, 24 April 1942. Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942. Reported missing, 27 February 1943. Subsequently reported safe. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 4 March 1944. Repatriated 10 May 1945. Date of release uncertain. Presented 29 January 1947. Note that although recommendation mentions ditching incident as “27th August 1943\" it was actually 27 February 1943.

This officer has taken part in very many sorties as air bomber, including attacks against Berlin, Essen, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf. On one occasion when on mining operations off the Frisian Islands, his aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and an engine was rendered unserviceable. Despite this, Flight Lieutenant McNicol continued to the target area and released his mines with accuracy. On the return flight a second engine became useless and the pilot was compelled to bring his aircraft down on the sea. Some twenty-two hours later the crew were rescued. Flight Lieutenant McNicol has at all times displayed a high degree of resolution and devotion to duty.

NOTE: DHist file 181.009 (D.2611), in National Archives of Canada RG.24 Volume 20627 has a detailed recommendation drafted by W/C A.J. Lewington on 6 August 1944 when he had flown 42 sorties (239 hours 20 minutes). Text as follows:

This officer has completed a record of 42 complete sorties over enemy territory of which 19 sorties are credited to his second tour of operations. This list includes attacks on such heavily defended areas as Berlin, Essen (2), Stuttgart, Wuppertal, Dusseldorf and Lorient (6).

On one occasion, namely 27th August 1943, when Gardending off the Frisian Islands the aircraft in which this officer was flying was damaged by flak at 1,500 feet and it was necessary to faether the port inner engine. Despite the fact that the aircraft was gradually losing height they pressed on with their mission and this officer coolly and with great determination carried out his duties, accurately dropped his mines from 500 feet. Upon the return journey the port outer engine cut out and it was necessary to ditch the aircraft. This was successfully carried out and the crew were picked up 22 hours later.

Flight Lieutenant McNicol has at all times shown exceptional tenacity of purpose and his cooperation, coolness and devotion to duty has contributed in a large measure to the success of his many operational flights. Since coming to this squadron he has acted in the capacity of Deputy Bombing Leader, where his initiative and fine leadership have proven an inspiration to all personnel in his section. I consider that this officer’s record of achievement fully merits the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The sortie list was as follows:

10 September 1942 - Dusseldorf (5.00)
13 September 1942 - Bremen (6.40)
15 January 1943 - Lorient (6.30)
23 January 1943 - Lorient (6.30)
29 January 1943 - Lorient (6.40)
2 February 1943 - Kattegat (7.05)
3 February 1943 - Hamburg (6.05)
7 February 1943 - Lorient (6.05)
13 February 1943 - Lorient (6.10)
14 February 1943 - Cologne (5.20)
16 February 1943 - Lorient (6.00)
27 February 1943 - Frisians (2.30, incomplete ?)
12 March 1943 - Essen (4.40)
27 March 1943 - Berlin (7.20)
14 April 1943 - Stuttgart (8.00)
16 April 1943 - Pilsen (3.35, duty not carried out)
26 April 1943 - Duisurg (4.40)
28 April 1943 - Gardening (7.20)
30 April 1943 - Essen (3.50, duty not carried out)
4 May 1943 - Dortmund (5.10)
12 May 1943 - Duisburg (5.20)
19 June 1943 - Le Creusot (7.30)
21 June 1943 - Krefeld (5.15)
22 June 1943 - Mulheim (4.35)
24 June 1943 - Wuppertal (5.40)
18 November 1943 - sea search (4.00)
25 February 1944 - Augsburg (7.00)
6 March 1944 - Trappes (2.00, duty not carried out)
13 March 1944 - Le Mans (5.20)
11 April 1944 - Kattegat (6.25)
20 April 1944 - Lens (5.15)
24 April 1944 - Karlsruhe (7.05)
26 April 1944 - Essen (5.30)
10 May 1944 - Ghent (4.00)
21 May 1944 - Gardening (4.20)
24 May 1944 - Aachen (4.45)
27 May 1944 - Le Clipon (3.05)
31 May 1944 - Au Fevre (5.00)
5 June 1944 - Houlgate (4.35)
10 June 1944 - Versailles (5.15)
15 June 1944 - Boulogne (3.40, day)
27 June 1944 - Wizernes (4.00)
4 July 1944 - Villeneuve St. George (6.05)
6 July 1944 - Siracourt (4.30, day)
12 July 1944 - Acquet (4.00)

Note: The date of 27 August 1943 for the ditching incident appears to be an error made either in drafting the above text or in its transcription. The event is clearly one of 27/28 February 1943, at which time he was in No.419 Squadron, involving Halifax aircraft (DT615, VR-P or “P For Peter”) was airborne at 1825 hours, 27 February 1943 from Middleton St.George to lay mines off the Frisian Islands (Nectarines Region). Hit by Kriegmarine Flak and ditched. Twenty-two hours later, having been sighted earlier in the day, the crew were picked up by the Royal Navy. Sergeant M.F.Gray RCAF, Sergeant C.F.Wilby RCAF, Flight Sergeant C.O.Hancock RCAF, F/O W.J.McNicol RCAF, Sergeant. G.H.Low RCAF, Sergeant M.S.Braniff RCAF, P/O R.Harling, DFC, RCAF. See entry for Sergeant Low, awarded DFM.


McNULTY, F/O Gordon Patrick (J38594) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.162 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron - Award effective 2 October 1944 as per London Gazette dated 10 October 1944 and AFRO 2534/44 dated 24 November 1944. Born 6 January 1920 (obituary notice). Home in Toronto; enlisted in Saskatoon, 14 March 1941. To No.2 Manning Depot, 3 June 1942. To No.1 Equipment Depot, 5 July 1941. To No.4 WS, 25 October 1941. Promoted LAC, 25 November 1941. Graduated 8 May 1942 and posted next day to No.1 BGS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 8 June 1942. To No.1 AOS, 28 June 1942. Promoted Flight Sergeant, 8 December 1942. To No.10 (BR) Squadron, 7 April 1943. To No.162 (BR) Squadron, 18 April 1943. Promoted WO2, 8 June 1943. Commissioned 20 September 1943. Promoted Flying Officer, 20 March 1944. Repatriated from Iceland via Moncton, 9 December 1944. To No.1 AOS, 13 February 1945. To No.1 Air Command, 10 February 1945. Retired 14 June 1945. Died in Toronto, 27 April 2011. Medal sent by registered mail 18 January 1949.

Flying Officer McNulty as wireless operator has taken part in operational flying since May 1943. Throughout this period he has consistently displayed great devotion to duty, coolness and courage. He has participated in two attacks on enemy submarines. On an occasion after his own aircraft had attacked a U-boat, and the depth charges failed to release, he immediately gave directions to another aircraft to proceed to the scene, giving his directions in plain language until the relief had sighted the enemy submarine.


McPHADEN, F/L John Henry (J9693) - Mention in Despatches - No.502 Squadron - Award effective 1 January 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 337/45 dated 23 February 1945. Born 28 January 1918; home in Oak River, Manitoba; enlisted in Winnipeg, 13 March 1941 and posted to No.2 Manning Depot. To No.5 BGS, 21 April 1941; to No.2 WS, 19 July 1941; promoted LAC, 18 August 1941; to 5 BGS again, 6 December 1941; graduated and commissioned, 5 January 1942. To RAF overseas, 9 February 1942; promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 5 January 1944. Repatriated 1 November 1944; released 14 March 1945. Died in Winnipeg, 2 January 2000 as per Short Bursts (Air Gunner newsletter).


McPHAIL, F/L Hugh Duncan (J26236) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.576 Squadron - Award effective 23 November 1945 as per London Gazette dated 4 December and AFRO 212/46 dated 1 March 1946. Born 14 March 1915 (pay card) or 1916 (obituary) in Ladstock, Saskatchewan; home in Bankend, Saskatchewan where his father farmed and traded in cattle. He went to local schools and in 1934 won a hockey scholarship to Notre Dame College, Wilcox. He then attended University of Saskatchewan (Bachelor of Science, Agriculture); enlisted in Saskatoon, 29 April 1942. To No.2 Manning Depot, 28 May 1942. To No.5 BGS (guard), 18 July 1942. ToNo.7 ITS, 12 September 1942; graduated and promoted LAC, 6 November 1942; to No.6 EFTS, date uncertain; graduated 23 January 1943 when posted to No.10 SFTS; graduated and commissioned 14 May 1943. To No,1 GRS, 21 May 1943. To “Y” Depot, 7 August 1943. Reported posting overseas, 3 September 1943 but not taken on strength of No.3 PRC until 8 October 1943. Promoted Flying Officer, 14 November 1943. Shipped overseas with 200 pilots and 4,000 American troops, but ship had to put into St. John’s for repairs, so went back to New York City and took the Queen Mary. On his first mission he was co-pilot on a familiarization trip; attacked over Denmark by a Junkers 88 that set two engines on fire. He later recalled the navigator coming on the intercom to say, “Look boys, if we hang on for three minutes [he was later told it was seven] we can make it to Sweden.” Crew bailed out at 20,000 feet (according to obituary) and he lost his boots on the way down. Once on the ground in Sweden he was separated from his crew and tried to walk to the British Embassy in Stockholm. His uncle (who escaped from German hands twice in the First World War) had told him that humans could live on raw turnips, and that was what he tried. He stopped at a large house where he was given a pair of running shoes. In return he gave the man’s maid his silk map of France - the only map he had. He and his comrades were eventually taken into Swedish custody and interned for three months. Thirty aircrew were flown back to Britain in a DC-3. Back in Britain he located the woman who had packed his parachute and gave her a pair of nylon stockings. In Britain he had an Opel car which he ran with aviation gasoline. Of the raid on Dresden he later said, “I’m not proud of that.” However, he was very proud of MANNA missions. Repatriated 18 June 1945. Volunteered for Pacific and posted to No.8 OTU, 19 June 1945. To Greenwood, 31 July 1945. Retired 15 September 1945. Post war began working for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool . Returning to flying, he reportedly flew a Lysander to haul fish from northern Saskatchewan. In 1951 he started a flying school and crop dusting and aerial photography business out of North Battleford (McPhail Air Services). His photo specialty was taking pictures of farms, but also did photography for towns from Vancouver Island to Guelph, Ontario. In 1967 he survived a spectacular crash of a crop duster aircraft, ploughing into a field after the airplane stalled. He was saved by the fact that he was separated from the engine by the pesticide tanks. After months in hospital he returned to flying and did not sell his business until 1981. After that he continued to fly a Beech Bonanza until he failed a pilot’s medical. He was, among other things, a Member of the Saskatchewan Aviation Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame. Died 25 March 2001 as per Legion Magazine of November 2001; long obituary in National Post. No citation other than \"completed...numerous operations against the enemy in which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty\". Public Records Office Air 2/8772 has recommendation dated 2 June 1945 when he had flown 28 sorties (171 hours 40 minutes).

29 August 1944 - Stettin (shot down, interned in Sweden)
5 January 1945 - Hanover (attacked by fighter)
1 February 1945 - Mannheim
2 February 1945 - Weisbaden
7 February 1945 - Cleve
8 February 1945 - Politz
13 February 1945 - Dresden
14 February 1945 - Chemnitz
20 February 1945 - Dortmund
21 February 1945 - Duisburg
23 February 1945 - Pforzheim
8 March 1945 - Kassel
11 March 1945 - Essen
13 March 1945 - Herne
15 March 1945 - Misburg
18 March 1945 - Hanau
21 March 1945 - Bruchstrasse
23 March 1945 - Bremen
27 March 1945 - Paderborn
31 March 1945 - Hamburg
3 April 1945 - Nordhausen
9 April 1945 - Kiel
10 April 1945 - Plauen
22 April 1945 - Bremen
30 April 1945 - MANNA (The Hague)
2 May 1945 - MANNA (Rotterdam)
8 May 1945 - MANNA (Rotterdam)
16 May 1945 - EXODUS (Brussels)

Flight Lieutenant McPhail, a Canadian officer, has completed twenty-eight sorties and 171.40 operational hours as the captain and pilot of a Lancaster heavy bomber in Bomber Command.

On his first operational sortie, Flight Lieutenant McPhail was down over Sweden, and after baling out was interned. He has shown great keenness and dogged determination, and as soon as he was repatriated commenced operational flying again.

He has attacked many heavily defended targets in the Ruhr and has made many long and deep penetrations into Germany, including attacks on Politz, Dresden, Chemnitz and Kassel.

Flight Lieutenant McPhail has always pressed home his attacks with the utmost determination. On 14th February when attacking Chemnitz, and again on 15th March when attacking Misburg, he was unable to bomb accurately on his first run up to the target. With complete disregard for personal safety Flight Lieutenant McPhail orbited the target and made a second run despite intense flak opposition, thus making the successful completion of these operational flights possible.

Flight Lieutenant McPhail has acted as Flight Commander in his flight many times. His unselfishness, splendid record and high degree of courage has been a source of inspiration not only to his own crew but to all the crews in the squadron. I very strongly recommend him for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The website “Lost Bombers” provides the following on the mission when he was interned: Lancaster ME742 coded UM-B2, target Stettin, 29/30 August 1944. ME742 was delivered to No.12 Squadron on 22 April 1944, joining No.626 Squadron on 24 June 1944. Took part in the following operations: with No.12 Squadron as PH-O, Mailly-le-Camp, 3/4 May1944; with No.626 Squadron as UM-B2, Vierzon, 30 June/1 July 1944; Stettin, 29/30 August 1944 (lost). When lost this aircraft had a total of 246 hours. Airborne 2051 hours, 29 August 1944 from Wickenby. Shot down by a pair of Ju.88s. With no hydraulics at the turret the mid-upper gunner, observing one Ju.88 flying parallel at a range of 75 yards, hand-cranked his guns on to it and gave a burst of fire. The Ju.88 was seen to catch fire and dive into clouds. ME742 was abandoned successfully and crashed in Sweden. Crew (all interned and released in October 1944) consisted of F/O R.C.Hawkes, RCAF, F/O H.D.McPhail, RCAF, Sergeant C.G.Ockwell, F/O R.J.Williams, F/O R.M.Mackay, Flight Sergeant G.Langdon, Flight Sergeant H.D.C.Allison, RCAF.

RCAF Photo PL-43897 (ex UK-21309, circa 11 May 1945) has the following caption: “He was jerked out of his flying boots when his parachute opened. F/L H.D. McPhail, Bankend, Saskatchewan, pilot of an RAF Lancaster crew, was shot down by an enemy fighter on his first trip as co-pilot. Two trips later he was again attacked. From then on, his operations were comparatively peaceful.”


McPHALEN, F/L Charles Gerrie (C39214) - Mention in Despatches - Western Air Command Headquarters - Western Air Command Headquarters - Award effective 2 February 1946 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 280/46 dated 15 March 1946. Born 8 September 1916. Home in Vancouver; enlisted there 6 June 1940 as Clerk. To Western Air Command, 22 July 1940. Promoted AC1, 1 October 1940. Promoted LAC, 1 January 1941. Reclassified as Clerk/Steno, 1 March 1941. Promoted Corporal, 15 March 1941. Promoted Sergeant, 1 October 1941. To Trenton, 7 June 1942. To Western Air Command Headquarters, 5 September 1942. Promoted Flight Sergeant, 1 November 1942. To No.1 Officer School, 10 November 1943; commissioned with effect from 11 November 1943. To Western Air Command Headquarters, 9 December 1943. To Port Hardy, 28 December 1943. To Western Air Command Headquarters, 31 March 1944. Promoted Flying Officer, 11 May 1944. To No.165 (Transport) Squadron, 2 November 1944. To Western Air Command Headquarters, 27 February 1945. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 April 1945. To No.6 OTU, 8 October 1945. To Patricia Bay, 16 January 1946. To Western Air Command Headquarters, 18 March 1946. Retired 2 July 1946. Died in Vernon, British Columbia, 12 July 2011.

This officer has served in Western Air Command in a clerical and administrative capacity for several years, during which he has consistently demonstrated exceptional ability and efficiency. The nature of his duties has often been such as to necessitate sustained effort over and above normal requirements, and the willing spirit with which Flight Lieutenant McPhalen has accepted his responsibilities has resulted in a high standard of morale amongst the personnel under his direction.


McPHERSON, G/C Barclay (C1769) - Officer, Order of the British Empire - Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa - Awarded 1 January 1945 as per Canada Gazette dated 6 January 1945 and AFRO 89/45 dated 19 January 1945. Born 11 February 1886 in Lancaster, Ontario (RCAF Press Release 4907 reporting award). Former chairman of British Fabrics Limited, London, England and directed various financial and industrial companies in several countries. Home in Ottawa; enlisted there 23 February 1940 in Administrative Branch. To AFHQ, 28 March 1940. Promoted Squadron Leader, 1 August 1941. Promoted Wing Commander, 1 July 1942. Promoted Group Captain, 1 September 1943. Retired 6 June 1945. Presented 28 February 1946. Died 24 May 1946.

During a lengthy period of war service, this officer has consistently displayed outstanding efficiency and capacity for work which have been of great benefit to the Royal Canadian Air Force. He has carried out successfully many special duties requiring delicate and diplomatic handling. Particularly outstanding was the highly commendable fashion in which he carried out his important and arduous duties as Liaison Officer between the services and the Department of the Secretary of State at the Churchill-Roosevelt conferences in Quebec in August 1943 and September 1944. By his ability, energy, resourcefulness and splendid devotion to duty, he made a marked contribution to the efficient organization of these conferences.


McPHERSON, F/L Donald Bennett (C22105) - Commended for Valuable Services in the Air - No.13 EFTS - Award effective 14 November 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2684/44 dated 15 December 1944. Born 23 August 1902. Home in Sherbrooke, Quebec;; enlisted in Montreal, 1 June 1940 as Flying Instructor and posted to Trenton. Promoted Sergeant, 8 July 1940 when posted to No.4 EFTS. Award card says he “graduated” 10 September 1940 but it is more probable that he was already instructing there and the date reflects classification as instructor. Promoted WO2, 6 January 1942. Commissioned 1 December 1942. To No.5 Manning Depot, 8 January 1943. To No.6 SFTS, 6 February 1943; “graduated” 30 April 1943 although this may again reflect completion of an upgrading course. Promoted Flying Officer, 1 April 1943. To No.3 Flying Instructor School, 14 May 1943. To No.4 EFTS, 8 August 1943. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 December 1943. To No.13 EFTS, 21 February 1944. To Release Centre, 26 February 1945; retired 15 March 1945.

This officer has been employed for the past four years on flying instructional duties and has shown that he possesses a thorough flying training knowledge, initiative and outstanding leadership. He is a very steady and conscientious officer.


McPHERSON, F/L Douglas Alexander Buzza (J25650) - Mention in Despatches - No.28 Squadron (AFRO gives unit only as “Overseas”) - Award effective 1 January 1946 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 388/46 dated 12 April 1946. Born 8 November 1916. Home in Kamloops, British Columbia (funeral director); enlisted in Vancouver, 28 February 1941 as Elementary Flying Instructor. To Trenton, 26 April 1941. To No.6 EFTS, 12 June 1941; promoted Sergeant, 13 June 1941. To No.7 EFTS, date uncertain; described as “graduated”, 18 June 1942 but as he was already an instructor this may reflect upgrading of category; to No.6 SFTS, 18 July 1942; graduated as service pilot, 11 September 1942. To No.3 Flying Instructor School, 10 October 1942. Promoted WO2, 28 November 1942. Commissioned 14 April 1943. To No.2 SFTS, 18 March 1943. To “Y” Depot, 30 April 1943; to RAF overseas, 26 May 1943. Shot down or forced down by engine failure, 19 April 1944, 70 miles east of Kohima. Evaded capture for eighteen days. Repatriated at uncertain date; to Release Centre, 23 September 1945; retired 31 October 1945. Residing in Oak Bay, Victoria in 1950. Died in Chilliwack, British Columbia, 26 December 1981 as per British Columbia Vital Statistics.

His evasion report (held at Directorate of History and Heritage) read:

I was stationed at Jorhat, Assam, flying Hurricanes. On the 19th of April 1944 I took off at 0800 hours on a tactical reconnaissance mission with another aircraft piloted by Flying Officer [R.J.] Garrett. At approximately 70 miles east of the aerodrome we were circling our objective when my engine suddenly cut out. I believe that this was caused by Japanese small arms fire. After being hit I attempted to glide over a mountain ridge to make a forced landing but the aircraft nosed to earth 300 yards on the far slope. The aircraft did not catch fire and I remained approximately six hours in an unconscious condition.

I was removed from the aircraft by natives from the nearby village of Thetsemi who had seen the crash from the village, a distance of one and a half miles. After being removed from the aircraft I attempted to get the natives to destroy what remained but could not make them understand. They took me one-half mile from the aircraft and hit me in the jungle. I remained there five days, eating my flying rations and drinking the rice beer that the natives brought once a day. I could not eat more solid food because most of my teeth were knocked out and loose. I also suffered a bad cut on my head which later proved [to be] concussion, causing my loss of memory and control of faculties.

After the third day I managed to walk a bit and attended my own wounds as best I could. On the fifth day one of the natives had contacted a cousin of his who could speak English and brought him to where I was hidden. After we had discussed the situation he decided to help me reach the British lines. He and his friends took me to a jungle camp seven miles distant and en route back to base. On arriving there we discovered that the Japs had found my aircraft. We set out the following day, heading North East, towards the British lines, via Pulami, Phogwina and several other native villages, receiving help and a good deal of valuable information which I wrote down on my escape map of the area. We averaged approximately 10 to 12 miles per day and received all the help we needed from the natives.

Eighteen days from the day I crashed I contacted the British lines in the company of four natives. I was given medical attention and turned over to the British authorities the information I had received from thee natives enroute. I was then sent to the hospital at Jorhat.

McPherson returned to his squadron in July 1944 and completed his tour of operations. Unlike Johnson, he had received much help from Burmese civilians. This may have been due to prewar Christian missionary influence.


McPHERSON, F/L Ian Edward (J10107) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.12 Squadron - Award effective 30 October 1945 as per London Gazette dated 6 November 1945 and AFRO 155/46 dated 15 February 1946. Born 8 June1920 in Victoria (given in obituary notice); home there; attended Shawinigan Lake Public School (Vancouver Island), 1935-1939. Enlisted in Vancouver, 20 May 1941 and posted to No.2 Manning Depot. To No.2 ITS, 14 July 1941; graduated and promoted LAC, 30 August 1941 when posted to No.2 EFTS; graduated 24 October 1941 and posted next day to No.13 SFTS; graduated and commissioned 16 January 1942. To No.2 AOS, 1 March 1942. To No.2 SFTS, 11 May 1942. Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942. To No.8 SFTS, 6 October 1943. To “Y” Depot, 25 January 1944. Taken on strength of No.3 PRC, 14 February 1944. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 August 1944. Repatriated 18 June 1945. To No.8 OTU, 19 June 1945 for Tiger Force. To Greenwood, 31 July 1945. To No.10 Release Centre, 26 October 1945. Retired 31 October 1945. Award presented 29 May 1947. Following the war he attended the University of British Columbia (Law). After practicing in Victoria he attended the first class of the Institute of International Air Law (McGill), receiving in1952 a Masters Degree in Aerospace Law. Joined the staff of Canadian National Railways as Assistant Solicitor, transferring to Trans-Canada Airlines (later Air Canada) in 1959; retired in 1983 as Vice-President (Law). Served as alderman for the City of Westmount. Moved to Vancouver in 1985 and served as Coordinator of Official Visits for Expo 86, after which he retired to Victoria. Died in Victoria, 5 November 2005. No citation other than \"completed...numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.\"