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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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07th December 1941 3 Squadron Hurricane IIC Z3916 P/O. McVay

Operation: Patrol

Date: 07th December 1941 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 3 Squadron (motto: Tertius primus erit - 'The third shall be the first') 11 Group

Type: Hurricane IIC

Serial: Z3916

Code: QO-?

Base: RAF Hudson, Hertfordshire

Location: Thornwood, Essex

Pilot: P/O. John Douglas McVay NZ/404913 RNZAF Age 28. Killed


On returning from a convoy patrol and encountering snow showers and thick cloud. The aircraft hit a tree and and dived into the ground at 18:10 hrs.

The enquiry held into the circumstanced felt it was the lack of night flying experience that contributed to the accident. He had been posted in from 55 Operational Training Unit with just 10 hours experience in night flying and of these only 2 on instruments.

Burial and personal details:

P/O. John Douglas McVay. Ware New Cemetery. Sec. 265. Grave 2. Born on the 10th November 1913 at Pahiatua. Worked as a design engineer for A.C. Clarke Ltd prior to service. Served with the territorial army for 3 years before joining the RNZAF at Levin on the 30th November 1940. Embarked for Canada on te 27th March 1941 for pilot training. Awarded his pilots badge on the 03rd July 1941 and promoted to sergeant. Awarded his commission on the 04th July 1941.Prior to joining 3 squadron on the 19th November 1941 carried out conversion training on the Hurricane with 55 Operational Training Unit. Son of Harry Douglas McVay and Gladys McVay (nee Boyd) and husband of Jessie JJean McVay (nee Burns), of 612 High Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 245 flying hours logged and had carried out 3 operational sorties.

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

KTY 09-04-2021

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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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