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Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 5 months ago

Air Chief Marshall Sir William MacDonald


Sir William MacDonald lived at Quarry House on Cricket Hill for 25 years until he died in the mid 1980s. His entry in Who‘s Who outlines a distinguished career culminating as personal Air Aide-de-camp to the Queen. He served as AOC Singapore, Commander in Chief of the RAF in the Middle East, and Chief Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus. From 1962 to 1966 he was Air Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.


Before the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 Sqn Ldr William MacDonald commanded No 150 Squadron flying Fairy Battles, forming part of No 71 (Bomber) Wing. During one mission five Battles, attacked by a Messerschmitt Bf109, were either shot down or crashed. Evading attack MacDonald flew at tree-top height pursued by the Bf109, but eventually his aircraft cartwheeled into a field. Miraculously he and his crew survived.


As a Group Captain in 1944 Sir William commanded 137 Wing at RAF Hartford Bridge, part of No 2 Group of the Second Tactical Air Force (2TAF). No 2 Group had four Wings of medium bombers, Bostons, Mitchells and Mosquitos, each Wing having three squadrons.


The three squadrons under Group Captain MacDonald‘s command on D-Day were:

  • No 88 Squadron flying Boston III (Squadron Leader Lyle)
  • No 226 Squadron flying Mitchell II (Squadron Leader Betts)
  • No 342 (Lorraine) flying Boston III (Squadron Leader Campbell)


No 88 Squadron arrived at Hartford Bridge on 19 Aug 1943 from Swanton Morley, followed by the Free French on the 6 Sep 1943. On 13 Feb 1944 No 226 Squadron, the last of the D-Day battle order, joined 137 Wing. No 226 replaced No 107 Squadron, which was transferred to 138 Wing at Lasham, one of two Mosquito VI fighter/bomber wings in No 2 Group 2TAF.



In Oct 1944 MacDonald moved with 137 Wing to Vitry-en-Artois in Northern France, then from April 1945 to Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands, continuing missions from the new bases until May 1945.


Back to Yateley Common in WW2 in Yateley Common Facts


Back to RAF Hartford Bridge in The Military topic in this website


Back to The Biographical Dictionary

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