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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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No. 9 Squadron
08.03.1940 No. 9 Squadron Wellington IA N3017 WS-? F/O. MacRae D.F.C.

Operation: Returning to base after maintenance

Date: 8th March 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington IA

Serial: N3017

Code: WS-?

Base: R.A.F. Honington,  

Location: Weybridge, Surrey

Pilot: F/O. William John MacRae. D.F.C. 39089. R.A.F. Age 26. Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: F/Lt. Edward Reginald Berrill. 34206. R.A.F. Age ? Killed (2)

Obs: Sgt. Cornelius Thomas Murphy. 580800. R.A.F. Age 20. Killed (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Cpl. Roy Jackson. 532409. R.A.F. Age 23. Killed (4)

F/Mechanic: AC1. Leonard Leopold James Mackenzie. 621783. R.A.F. Age 19. Killed


Wellington's of No. 9 Squadron


Wellington IA N3017 was returning to R.A.F. Honington having undergone modification to the tank armour plating at Vicker Armstrong, Weybridge. Took off at 14.35hrs from Weybridge, Surrey, but was seen to crash shortly afterwards at 14.40hrs. The aircraft was totally destroyed by fire killing all the crew instantaneously

Burial details:


F/O. William John MacRae. D.F.C. F/Lt. Edward Reginald Berrill. AC1 Leonard Leopold Jackson


Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey (courtesy CWGC) and Cork (St. Finbarr's) Cemetery, County Cork, Ireland (courtesy Wikipedia)

Avro Cadet (courtesy of Imperial War Museum)

F/O. William John MacRae. D.F.C. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref: 5. L. 3. Son of John James MacRae and Eliza May MacRae of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

(1) While at RAF Ansty during his pre short service commission training William was involved in a forced landing incident on the 25th July 1936 in Avro Cadet G-ADYT. William John MacRae was granted a short service commission as Acting Pilot Officer on the 31st August 1936 and was posted to No. 11 Flying Training School, Wittering on the 12th September 1936. Gaining his Flying Badge on the 7th January 1937 with No. 11 Flying Training School

On the 22 May 1937 Acting Pilot Officer W. J. MacRae was posted to No. 149 Bomber Squadron, Mildenhall and was confirmed in appointment as Pilot Officer on the 6th July 1937. While serving at 149 Squadron RAF Evanton on 1st March 1938 that he taxied Heyford K4032 into a wall causing minor damage to the aircraft. 

                                                 Handley Page Heyford (courtesy of Imperial War Museum)

On the 21st December 1939 Air Chief Marshall Sir Edgar R. Ludlow-Hewitt, K.C.B., D.S.C., M.C. arrived at R.A.F. Honington to interview the crews of aircraft who had participated in operations on the 18th December 1939.  F/O. W. J. MacRae was recommended for immediate award of the D.F.C. as per London Gazette 20th February 1940. F/O. W. J. MacRae was the pilot of (Wellington N2871) that took off on 18th December 1939 for the operation on Wilhelmshaven and had managed to land his badly damaged Wellington at Northcoates Fitters

F/Lt. Edward Reginald Berrill. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref: 5. L. 4. No further information on next of kin as yet. (2) Edward Reginald Berrill was granted a short service commission as Acting Pilot Officer with effect from April 16th 1934 and was confirmed as Pilot Officer on the 16th April 1935. In June he was posted to No. 55 (B) Squadron, Hinaidi, Iraq and on the 8th June 1936 P/O. E. R. Berrill was transferred to the Communication Flight, Hinaidi, Iraq. January 16th 1937 P/O. Berrill was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer. On November 2nd and 3rd 1937 F/O. Berrill sat for the examination to compete for permanent commission to the General Duties Branch. 1939 7th February F/O. Berrill was involved in a flying accident. He was the pilot of a Hawker Hart aircraft

of No 10. Flying Training School, Tern Hill, Shropshire on a training flight when the aircraft crashed near Market Drayton. His pupil Acting Pilot Officer F. J. Hammell was killed and F/O. Berrill was injured. Flying Officer Berrill was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on the 1st June 1939

Hawker Hart (courtesy of Imperial War Museum)

Sgt. Cornelius Thomas Murphy. Cork (St. Finbarr's) Cemetery, County Cork, Ireland. Grave Ref: E/North, Grave 25/11A. Son of John Joseph and Doris Isabella Murphy of Montenotte Park, Cork (3) Sgt. C. T. Murphy was part of F/O. MacRae's crew in Wellington N2873 that took off on the 18th December 1939

Cpl. Roy Jackson. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref: 5. L. 2. Son of Ronald Raven Jackson and Bertha Jackson of Woodseats, Sheffield (4) Cpl. R. Jackson was one of the F/O. MacRae's crew in Wellington N2872 that took off on the 18th December 1939

AC1. Leonard Leopold James Mackenzie. East Sheen Cemetery, Surrey. Grave Ref: Sec. H. Grave 322. Son of Leopold Allen Mackenzie and Lily Mackenzie of Barnes

Researched by: Kate Tame for Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew

Acknowledgements: With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, National Archives UK Air 27/125, Air 27/131, W. C.R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1939-1940 including prewar losses July 1936-September 1939, London Gazette, Flight Archives, Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial, Imperial War Museum

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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