Ian Russell MCCALMAN


MCCALMAN, Ian Russell

Service Number: 400418
Enlisted: 20 August 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Korumburra, Victoria, Australia, 9 May 1921
Home Town: Caulfield, Glen Eira, Victoria
Schooling: Caulfield Grammar School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Flying Battle, Tripoli, 2 November 1941, aged 20 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Malta Memorial, Floriana
Show Relationships

World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Sergeant, SN 400418
20 Aug 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 400418
2 Nov 1941: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 400418, No. 40 Squadron (RAAF), Killed in Action over Tripoli

Help us honour Ian Russell McCalman's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Virtual Australia

The following text was provided by Allan GIBSON

The son of Duncan and Ethel Alice McCalman, of Caulfield, Victoria, Australia and born in Korumburra, Victoria on 9 May 1921. Prior to enlistment he was employed by ICI as a Buyer and was in the Victorian Scottish Regiment militia reserves.

He was enlisted in the RAAF on 20 August 1940 after having been rejected a year earlier.

He trained in Australia at No.8 EFTS Narrandera followeby traveling to Canada arriving January 23, 1941. 

He trained on multiengine flight in Canada at No. 4 Service Flying Training School, RCAF Saskatoon as part of Course 19: January 25 - May 16, 1941,after sailing from Sydney December 28, 1940. (https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1038104)

He sailed from Halifax (22 May 1941) to England (arriving in the UK 29 June 1941 and assigned 40 Sqd RAF 31 August 1941 and flew to Luqa, Malta via Gibraltar, arriving 30 October 1941).

During the night of 2 and 3 November 1941, Wellingtons from both 40 and 104 Squadrons took off from Luqa, Malta and raided Castel Benito airfield, Tripoli, Libya. They reported dropping nearly 28 tons of H.E. and incendiaries. Workshops and ammunition dumps were hit, and petrol tanks were destroyed and fires were started in hangars and buildings. Aircraft dispersed on the ground were bombed and machine-gunned, and at least 12 were seen to be on fire. One CR.42 was shot down and one Wellington and crew was missing. 

Tenente Egisto Andalò (flying a CR 42 biplane) reported shooting down Wellington 1C X9763/U of the 40 squadron, piloted by Sergeant G. D. Colville. 

Sergeants Gavin David Colville (RAF no. 929677), 20-year-old Ian Russell McCalman (RAAF no. 400418), 23-year-old Harold Michael Forth (RAF no. 748116), Ernest Donald Spry (RAF no. 957039), 20-year-old Thomas Wilson Robson (RAF no. 1100625) and 20-year-old John Thomas Ackroyd (RAF no. 1379183) were all reported KIA. However Wellington X9763/U was ditched in Tripoli Harbor and burned for over an hour with two survivors rescued by Italian authorities.

Sergeant Thomas Wilson Robson (Air Gunner) died of burns in Tripoli hospital November 3, 1941. Buried TRIPOLI WAR CEMETERY 11. G. 19.(Incorrect date of death entered in other records, date and cause of death from Italian POW / casualty records).

Sergeant Gavin David Colville (Pilot) died of burns in Tripoli hospital November 23, 1941.Buried TRIPOLI WAR CEMETERY 11. G. 18. (Incorrect date of death entered in other records and British newspapers, date and cause of death from Italian POW / casualty records).

The bodies of the remaining crew were not identifed / identifiable. It is probable that the remaining crew are buried in section 11. G. in the unidentified graves.

Sgt Ian Russell McCalman was on his first operational flight as a second pilot, having been signed off on the Wellington that morning. 

He was my great uncle, his older sister was my grandmother.