354 Squadron Liberator GR.VIII EW319 Fl/Lt. William Gordon McRae
Date: 25/26th March 1945 (Sunday/Monday)
Unit: No. 354 Squadron. 225 Group; Air Command South-East Asia
Type: Liberator GR.VIII
Base: RAF Cuttak (Charbatia), India
Location: Andaman Sea
Pilot: Fl/Lt. William Gordon McRae J/6834 RCAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed
Pilot: F/O. William Andrew Boyd Payne J/41431 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Nav: F/O. Irving Lindzon J/42510 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Nav: Fl/Lt. Cyril John Slater 156021 RAFVR Age 25. Missing - believed killed
Fl/M/Eng/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Gordon Parker 1685728 RAFVR Age 23. Missing - believed killed
F/Eng: Sgt. R.G Radford 578329 RAFVR Survived - injured
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Edward Walter Pollard J/43686 RCAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. P. Roberts 1817836 RAFVR Survived - injured
W/Op/Air/Gnr: F/O. Harry Parker J/43687 RCAF Age 21. Missing - believed killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alexander Peter Campbell R/163475 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Jack Samuel McIver R/277937 RCAF Age 19. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
EW319 left base at 22:52 hrs on an anti-shipping patrol with 5 others. Fl/Lt. Franklin Anderson Riffle J/14340 flyng EW315 'F' and Fl/Lt. William Gordon McRae J/6834 wee detailed to attack an enemy convoy.
The attack was carried out low level, and the coaster 'Teshio Maru' (1) was sunk.
According to the Naval report, the aircraft actually struck the mast of the ship. The aircraft, flying at 50 feet, was struck by anti-aircraft fire from the ship, the starboard wing was seen by one of the other aircraft to break off, outboard of the No. 3 engine, and the airoraft turned over and crashed Into the sea about a quarter of a mile from the ship, and to catch fire south of Barren Island.
Statements made by the two survivors.
Sgt. R.G Radford:
'Sir, I have the honour to report that on the 26th March 1945, whilst on patrol, instructions were received to proceed to the scene of an engagement between HM. destroyers and an enemy convoy. On arriving at the target we received orders to attack and I took position on the starboard beam gun.
The captain informed us of his intention to make a very low-level attack and proceeded to make a run-up at approx 50' I was unable to see the target during the run-up. I kept the gun fully depressed, and on hearing the bomb's release fired a couple of short bursts.
As we passed over the target I felt the aircraft slew to starboard and observed that part of the mainplane outboard of No 4 engine was missing. I did not get more than a momentary impression and was unable to record any damage or fire in the engines. At no time during the attack was I aware of enemy flak. The aircraft spun violently to starboard and I have only a vague recollection of being thrown against the Radar equipment and of the subsequent crash. On becoming stationary the tail was sticking vertically out of the water, and I was able to swim to the surface through the bean window. The aircraft had broken up and only the tail and part of the centre section were on the surface. Sgt. Roberts came to the surface some little way behind me and together we were able to get into a dinghy that was floating near the crash.
We were picked up by one of HM. Destroyers after about twenty minutes during which time we apparently wore fired on by the other enemy vessel'.
Sgt. P. Roberts:
'I have the honour of submitting the following report
At approximately 12:30 of March 26th last our aircraft under the command of Fl/Lt. MoRae attacked an enemy merchant ship by low-level bombing. During the attack, the aircraft staggered violently and I was thrown against an obstruction and knocked out When I came to, the aircraft was under water and I made an exit through the port bean windows
When I broke the surface I saw Sgt. Radford swimming towards a dinghy which had broken loose during the crash, and a Japanese ship of the sugar dog type about a quarter of a mile away. I swan to the dinghy and climbed aboard. Then the enemy ship opened fire with machine guns presumably at us in the dinghy. Approximately a quarter of an hour later four destroyers of HM. Navy came near ua and we were picked up by HMS Sumnarez and taken to Trichinopoly'.
(1) 'Teshio Maru':
Hikoshima. Laid down by Mitsubishi Zosen K.K. Hikoshima Zosensho shipyard as a 361-tons trawler for Kyodo Gyogyo K.K.
1926 - Laid down by Scotts' Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd, as a 845-tons cargo ship for Straits Steamship Co. Ltd., Singapore. On the 26th August claimed by Yokosuka Prize Court, 28th November 1943 Singapore. Conversion to military duty is completed by the 101st Naval Construction Unit.
Fl/Lt. William Gordon McRae. Singapore Memorial. Column 455. Born on the 15th June 1915 in Regina. Worked as a hotel clerk prior to enlisting. Enlisted on the 25th of October 1940. Son of Christopher Alexander McRae (died on the 08th July 1953, age 74) and Myrtle Margaret McRae (née Dahlren - died 02nd February 1985, age 92) and husband of Dulce Elizabeth McRae (née Gates), father of William Gordon of 78 Paisley Avenue, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Nominated for the Air Force Cross.
F/O. William Andrew Boyd Payne. Singapore Memorial. Column 456. Born on the 08th January 1920 in Calgary. Worked as a ship builder prior to enlisting. Enlisted on the 13th of March 1943. Son of Etherly Eaton Payne (died 27th January 1961, age 72) and Lona Irene Payne (née Lawless - died 1971, age 83); husband of Betty Ellen Payne (née Mulligan) father of Loretta Arlene, of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.
F/O. Irving Lindzon. Singapore Memorial. Column 456. Born on the 31st December 1923 in Toronto. Worked as an apprentice Pharmacy prior to service. Enlisted on the 10th March 1944. Son of Henry and Yetta Terra Lindzon (née Helstein - parents from Poland) and brother of Samuel of 80 Major Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Lt. Cyril John Slater. Singapore Memorial. Column 446. Son of Rudolph William and Agnes Margaret Slater, of St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, England. (Squadron Navigation Officer - Fellow Royal Meteorological Society)
Sgt. Gordon Parker. Singapore Memorial. Column 451. Son of George and Margaret Parker and husband of Dorothy Parker, of Coppull, Lancashire, England.
F/O. Edward Walter Pollard. Singapore Memorial. Column 456. Born on the 09th May 1919 in Kitcher. Worked as a factory worker prior to enlisting. Enlisted on the 07th October 1941. Son of Joseph Wesley and Lillian May (née Littler). Husband of Eleanor Janette Pollard (née Chalk), father of Sandra Gail of 20 Alma Street, Kitchener, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
F/O. Harry Parker. Singapore Memorial. Column 456. Born on the 01st October 1924 in Lisle. Worked as a truck driver prior to enlisting. Enlisted on the 06th of April 1943. Son of William James Parker and Elizabeth Anne Jane Parker (née Woolacott) of 148 Yarmouth Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Fl/Sgt. Alexander Peter Campbell. Singapore Memorial. Column 458. Born on the 08th February 1923 in Saskatchewan, Canada. Worked as an assistant superintendent prior to service. Enlisted on the 16th of October 1942. Son of Peter and Annie Campbell (née McDonald - parents from Scotland) of 44 Irwin Avenue, Toronto, Canada; husband of Dorothy Parker, of Coppull, Lancashire, England.
Fl/Sgt. Jack Samuel McIver. Singapore Memorial. Column 458. Born on the 18th of September 1925 in Toronto. Worked as a Grinder for Gary Forging prior to enlisting.Enlisted on the 24th of September 1943. Son of Murdoch and Mary McIver (née Glenn - parents from Scotland), of 151 Mortimer Avenue, West Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His brother, Fl/Lt. Malcolm McIver DFC. J/11107 RCAF was also lost earlier on the 13th of May 1944 - further details here.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the National Archives, Kew, AIR-27-1751-35/36, Government of Canada, Paradie RCAF Archies, Combined Fleet.
Pages relating to 1945
Pages listing RCAF losses
Other sources as quoted below: