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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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Coastal Command Crest
06.03.1943 No 269 Squadron Hudson IIIA FK791 Sq/Ldr. David D. McPetrie

Operation: Transit flight

Date: 06th March 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 269 Squadron (Coastal Command)

Type: Hudson IIIA

Serial: FK791

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Davidstowe Moor

Location: near Mira, Portugal

Pilot: Sqn.Ldr. David Duncan McPetrie 39548 RAF Age 31. Killed

Nav: WO1 Philip Arthur Gallop R/99353 RCAF Age 23. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: WO. George Gordon McLean 401996 RAAF Age 26. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Potwahka R/114361 RCAF - Baled out, survived - no further details


Understood to be on a transit flight to the Azores via Gibraltar.

Information from Carlos Guerreiro (see credits) sent to Aircrew Remembered in July 2017:

"The Hudson was on the way to its new airbase in the Azores Islands. One of the engines stopped and the crew had to take measures and abandon the aircraft. McLean and Gallop baled out but fell into the sea and drowned. Potwalka also fall in the water, but was picked up by a fishing boat. Nobody saw the Squadron Leader Duncan jump and his body was not initially found."

The RAAF official accident report records that the aircraft encountered a severe electrical storm which caused the port engine to misbehave. Just before 0600 hours the engine failed altogether and aircraft went out of control.

The aircraft crashed into the sea off Mira in Portugal at around 0600 hrs. (Coordinates: 40.425170945749294 -8.73504641465842)

Burial details:

Crew buried at 17:00 hrs on the 13th March.

Sqn.Ldr. David Duncan McPetrie. Oporto British Churchyard (St. James). Plot 1. Collective grave 567. Son of James Duncan McPetrie and of Elisabeth Mary McPetrie (née Carnegie) and husband of Clotilde Hildegard McPetrie, of Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Grave inscription reads: “Greatly Loved By His Wife And Children Remembering Him We Will Be Brave And Strong”.

WO1. Philip Arthur Gallop. Oporto British Churchyard (St. James). Plot 1. Collective grave 567. Son of John Henry and Sarah Gallop, husband of Claire Celia Gallop, of Plaster Rock, Victoria Co., New Brunswick, Canada. Grave inscription reads: “Sleep Beloved, Sleep And Take Thy Rest We Loved Thee Well But Jesus Loved Thee Best”.

WO. George Gordon McLean. Oporto British Churchyard (St. James). Plot 1. Collective grave 567. born 18 Sep 1918, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, Oporto (St. James)Bristish Churchyard Plot 1. Coll.grave 567. Son of Fredrick Gordon Henry and Caroline McLean, of East Brunswick, Victoria, Australia. Enlisted on the 26th April 1941. Grave inscription reads: “Not Lost But Gone Before”.

With thanks to Rui "A-7" Ferreira for pointing out this loss. Also, website for researcher, Carlos Guerreiro. He has also published various books on aviation history in the area. Thanks to Gill Casey for the the correction to DoB details for WO McLean and for reference to the RAAF Accident report. For further details our thanks to the sources shown below.

RS 01.07.2019 - Correction to DoB details for WO McLean and aircraft loss report

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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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