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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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4 crest raf
4 Squadron RAF Mustang I AP255 W/Cdr. Graeme Eaton MacDonald

Operation: Ranger

Date: 28th April 1943 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 4 Squadron. 34 Wing. (motto: In futurum videre - 'To see into the future')

Type: Mustang I

Serial: AP255

Code: ?

Base: RAF Bottisham, Cambridgeshire

Location: Mastenbroek, Hasselterdijk near the river Zwarte Water,

Pilot: W/Cdr. Graeme Eaton MacDonald 32159 RAF Age 32. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Weather conditions described as fine in the morning with occasional showers later.

Taking off at 06:35 hrs with his wingman, Fl/Lt. Charles Alfred Brian Slack 47457 RAFVR (1) flying Mustang AG519. They made landfall on the eastern end of the island Terschelling at 07:30 hrs.

Shot up two trains on the mainland before diving on two or three barges along the Vecht River near the Hasselterdijk at 08:00 hrs.

Whilst firing on these from a height of 20-30 feet an ammunition barge blew up. Flames an wreckage rising up to 2000 feet, some of the debris struck the Mustang of Fl/Lt. Slack.

After this attack no sign of AP255 or the barges could be seen from the air. Fl/Lt. Slack circled the area but then made for base, landing at RAF Matlaske in Norfolk at 09:05 hrs. with just 10 gallons of fuel left. Matlaske was a satellite station to RAF Coltishall.

The body of W/Cdr. MacDonald was later recovered and buried at Westenholte Cemetery near Vooost on the outskirts of Zwolle.

Burial and personal details:

W/Cdr. Graeme Eaton MacDonald. Zwollerkerspel General Cemetery (Voorst). Plot A. Row 1. Grave 2. Born on the 28th December 1910 in Wainui. A shepherd for the Glentannen Station in Fairlie. A member of the Canterbury Aero Club and awarded his 'A' Licence on the 02nd October 1931. Recommended for RAF short service commission.

Embarked on the Rangitata for England on the 31st December 1931, arriving on the 05th February 1932. Selected for RAF SSC and at RAF Uxbridge as a pilot under training on the 11th March 1932. With No. 5 Flying Training School on the 29th March 1932. Pilot badge awarded on the 11th March 1933. With No. 2 Flying Training School on the 15th March 1933. Joined 41 squadron on the 20th August 1933 flying the Bulldog and Demon. Attached to Home Aircraft Depot for parachute training 04-11th December. Attached at Calshot for float plane conversion 26th February - 03rd March 1934. To Leuchers for Fleet Air Arm fighter conversion 05th May - 08th May 1934. Attached to Gosport for deck landing refresher course 27th December - 13th January 1935. With 802 squadron Fleet Air Arm 14th January 1935. Embarked on HMS Courageous 21st August - 22nd December 1935.

Advanced Air School (various a/c types) special arm course 06th July 1936. RAF College for arm duties 03rd Jul 1937.

Attached to HQ Coastal Command for duty on fleet carrier HMS Ark Royal 09th May-01st June 1938. HMS Ark Royal for arm duties 21st November 1938, 21 Squadron (Blenheim) 11th May 1939. No. 10 Bomber Gunnery School 20th November 1939. No. 15 Operational Training Unit flying the Anson/Wellington for arm duties 20th May 1940. No. 3 Operational Training Unit flying the Anson/Blenheim for arm duties 28th May 1940. No. 4 Bomber Gunnery School (various a/c types - 1 Air Sea Rescue operational sortie) for arm duties 12th December 1940.

Embarked for Canada joining 31 Bomber Gunnery School (various a/c types) for arm duties 20th June 1941, to UK 09th January 1942, 5 Air Observer School (various a/c types - 1 operational sortie) for arm duties 24th January 1942, HQ Army Co-op Cmd for arm duties 02nd Jun1 1942. Joined 4 squadron (Mustang - 12 operational sorties) as CO 26th October 1942. A total of 2,083 flying hours logged and on his 14th operational sortie.

Son of Thomas (died 22nd August 1936, age 58) and Eveline Grace Macdonald (née Eaton - died 19th July 1966, age 84. Married 1905), of Wainui, Canterbury, New Zealand. Husband of Joan Kathleen Ruby Macdonald, of Southsea, Hampshire.

(1) Fl/Lt. Slack was to lose his life on the 30th March 1945 whilst with 175 squadron flying Typhoon IB EK382 HH-T. Aircraft crashed north-west of Telgte, Germany during a rocket attack.

Fl/Lt. Charles Alfred Brian Slack. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 18.E.15. Enlisted in the RAF from the army on the 29th November 1941. Younger Son of William And Sarah Slack (née Hepworth) of 265 Spring Vale Road, Sheffield and husband of Jean of Dronfield, Derbyshire, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, New Zealand Cenotaph, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Air-27/48/55 - 56, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 05-10-2022

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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