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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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RAF Crest
09.05.1944 No. 598 Squadron Oxford I BG555 P/O. D.S. McGregor

Operation: Searchlight Co-operation

Date: 09th May 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 598 Squadron

Type: Oxford I

Serial: BG555

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Skeabrae - on detachment from RAF Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

Location: East of Cava Island, Scapa Flow

Pilot: P/O. Donald Stuart McGregor NZ/401280 RNZAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Fl/Lt. William Oakley Helm 79909 RAFVR Age 35. Missing - believed killed

Ground crew member: AC1. Henry Ernest Haywood 653429 RAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Skeabrae on the Orkney Islands at about 23:30 hrs on a Searchlight Co-operation exercise when at 6,500 ft and during evasive action the aircraft entered a dive during which part of the port wing broke away. The aircraft crashed into the waters of Scapa Flow east of Cava Island at 23:50 hrs.

Post crash investigation thought that perhaps the pilot may have been totally blinded by the searchlights.

The pilot was a veteran fighter pilot who had served with 485 Squadron flying Spitfires as well as with 14 squadron in the Middle East flying Blenheim and Marauders. He had some 917 flying hours logged.

(Note: To avoid possible confusion, the ground crew member AC1. Henry Ernest Haywood was on board at the time of the accident)

Burial details:

P/O. Donald Stuart McGregor. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 263. Son of George Henry and Catherine McGregor, of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand and husband of Iena McGregor, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Fl/Lt. William Oakley Helm. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 202. Son of William Livesey Helm and Edith Helm and husband of Evelyn Hilda Helm, of Shenfield, Essex, England.

AC1. Henry Ernest Haywood. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 243. Son of Ernest and Florence Haywood; husband of Charlotte Winifred Haywood, of Gateshead, Co. Durham, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 20.10.2017

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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Last Modified: 20 October 2017, 21:40

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