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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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486
486 Squadron Tempest V EJ716 F/O. Colin James McDonald

Operation: Patrol

Date: 26th December 1944 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 486 Squadron (motto: Hiwa hau Maka - 'Beware of the Wild Winds')

Type: Tempest V

Serial: EJ716

Code: SA-A

Base: B.80 ALG at Volkel, Netherlands

Location: Liege, Belgium

Pilot: F/O. Colin James McDonald NZ412706 RNZAF Age 25. Survived

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 11:57 hrs with seven others from the squadron on a patrol.

During the patrol P/O. Brian John O'Connor NZ/402747 flying Tempest V JN869 SA-R collided with EJ716 SA-A flown by F/O. Colin James McDonald whilst they were both chasing an ME262.

P/O. Brian O'Connor managed to nurse his Tempest back behind allied lines making a safe, forced landing.

F/O. O'Connor baled out but his parachute caught in power lines and made a heavy landing on a cobbled street. It seems that he was greeted by some fine young Belgian woman who immediately arrived on the scene with a bottle of wine to share!

The remainder of the squadron landed safely back at base by 13:30 hrs.

Above as described, showing the effects previously by allied bombers

F/O. McDonald DFC Citation 14th September 1945:

'As a flight commander, this officer has completed a second tour of operational duty. Since September, 1944, he has destroyed three enemy aircraft in the air and has established a fine record against ground targets. He has destroyed 5 locomotives and damaged 31 and has also set fire to 44 transport vehicles and damaged a further 133. Flight Lieutenant McDonald has led his flight, and often the squadron, with great skill and determination'.

Above: F/O. Colin James McDonald at Volkel

F/O. O'Connor DFC Citation 20th July 1945:

'F/O. O'Connor is a courageous and skilful fighter pilot who has completed a most successful tour of operational duty. He has destroyed at least nine flying bombs and has inflicted considerable damage on the enemy's lines of communication and industrial targets. In April, 1945, this officer destroyed a Focke Wulf 190 in air combat and damaged another. F/O. O'Connor flew 190 sorties and was the first RNZAF pilot to shoot down a V1, being credited with the first and last of the over 220 of these flying bombs to be shot down by 486 Squadron. He also shot down the 500th V1 to cross the English coast - it crossed at Dungeness at 9,500 feet, the highest ever recorded. In addition to downing 9½ V- 1's he vas credited with 11½ FW190s.

Other details:

F/O. Colin James McDonald DFC. Born in Christchurch on the 12th September 1919. Joined the RNZAF on the 04th May 1941. Trained with No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School at Taieri. Further training on the Harvard in Canada. On arrival in England trained with No. 55 Operational Training Unit at Usworth flying the Hurricane. Joined 122 Squadron when they were based at Hornchurch. Then to 58 Operational Training Unit to convert to the Spitfire. Joined 485 NZ Squadron for a short time in August 1942 when the squadron was based at Kingscliffe. Transferred in September to 253 Squadron flying the Hurricane. Completed his first tour with the squadron. Flew 258 operational hours with this unit.

After his first tour joined 71 Operational Training Unit at Ismailia, Egypt training pilots on the Hurricane and Spitfire.

On his second tour he joined the 486 NZ Squadron and flew Typhoons at Aston Down, England, then Tempests from Newchurch and followed the Allied army with the squadron over Belgium, Germany and Denmark. After war end he transferred to the NZ Army for service in Japan, July 1946 - July 1947.

Sq/Ldr. Brian John O'Connor DFC. NZ/402747. Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Appleby, Nelson, New Zealand. Born on the 14th June 1922 in Napier. In RNZAF Reserve until 27th October 1962. Attached to 23 Squadron (Nelson) ATC on the 01st May 1947 as officer commanding. Died age 71 on the 03rd August 1993. Husband of Ellnor O'Connor (née Byrne - died 06th February 1997, age 70 of Brightwater, New Zealand). Parents of Shaun, Michael, Cushla and Liam.

Above: Brian John O'Connor and in his later years

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, National Archive, Kew, AIR-27-1934-63/64.

Pages that nay interest the reader:

Pages regarding 1944 Losses
Pages detailing RNZAF Losses

Other sources as quoted below:

KTY 02-08-2023

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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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