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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 52000
Last updated: 24 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P51 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
North American P-51 Mustang Mk I
Owner/operator:4 Sqn Royal Air Force (4 Sqn RAF)
Registration: AP255
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:12
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Vecht canal, near the Hasselterdijk between Hasselt and Zwolle -   Netherlands
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RAF Bottisham
Destination airport:
On 28 April 1943, the Squadron returned to "Ranger" operations over Holland. Unfortunately this was one mission too many for the squadron Commanding Officer, Wing Commander G.E. MacDonald, who, apparently, pressing his attack too closely, was caught in the explosion of his target. His aircraft with call sign FY-P was blown to pieces.

Flt Lt Baker again takes up the story: "Mac's death was spectacular and typical. He was on a Ranger with Brian Slack (later killed in a Typhoon in Holland) as his No. 2. Mac found some barges on a canal between Zwolle and Deventer. He opened fire at one thousand yards. Instead of dropping his opening burst half-way, as most of us would have done, his first rounds were on the target. The barges were full of ammunition and as Mac arrived they exploded. I was in the Ops Room that morning, and when we heard that only one of this pair was coming back, we assumed that we had lost Brian Slack, for to our minds, Mac was indestructible. We had cursed him often when he was with us, but missed him when he was gone. We yarned about him for years.

Fg Off Slack stayed in the area, looking for signs of a parachute, but had to give up. He returned to the UK and landed, short of fuel, at Matlaske. The Squadron Exec Officer, Sqn Ldr Riggall, was recalled from leave, and HQ 71 Gp informed.

In his last mission, WC MacDonald took off in Mustang I AP255 at 06:35. He and his wingman, Brian Slack, made landfall at Terschelling. They shot up two trains in the Groningen area and continued south. On the Vecht canal, near the Hasselterdijk between Hasselt and Zwolle, they engaged a couple of barges at around 08.00. WC MacDonald went down to 20-30 feet and shot up the barges. One exploded, being filled with ammo. The blast and debris hit WC MacDonald's plane which crashed. Several (reportedly "dozens") of Dutchmen also died in the blast.

Wing Commander Graeme Mac Donald is buried at Voorst General Cemetery, Plot A. Row 1. Grave 2.


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Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
25-Sep-2011 14:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Nov-2011 23:15 Nepa Updated [Operator]
27-Apr-2018 09:55 TigerTimon Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Source, Narrative]
03-Oct-2018 06:48 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

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