Norman MACDONALD

MACDONALD, Norman

Service Number: 420351
Enlisted: 11 October 1941, Mustered Observer
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 156 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Glasgow Scotalnd, 15 September 1911
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 2 Service

11 Oct 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 420351, Aircrew Training Units, Mustered Observer
25 May 1942: Embarked Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, SN 420351, Aircrew Training Units, To Canada for training as Navigator
29 Jun 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 420351, No. 460 Squadron (RAAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
23 Nov 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 420351, No. 156 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
3 Dec 1943: Imprisoned Prisoners of War, Stalag Luft IVB Muhlberg
2 Mar 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 420351, No. 156 Squadron (RAF)

Death of a Lancaster - No. 156 Squadron

From Flight Sergeant Norman MacDonald, only survivor of JB472

The crew of Lancaster JB472 with Reginald Wicks as pilot, joined the Squadron on 23 November 1943. They flew their first mission on 23 November - a night raid on Berlin. This was closely followed by another night mission to Berlin on 26 November.

On 2 December JB472 took off from Warboys airfield for their third raid on Berlin. In a report given by Flight Sergeant Norman Macdonald after the war he describes what happened to their aircraft as they flew over eastern Germany:

'Attack by enemy fighter reported by rear gunner - pilot acknowledged, took evasive action and just then we were hit. Crew put on chutes, aircraft in steep dive. At approx between 17 and 15, 000 feet violent explosion. I was sucked out the starboard side of aircraft. Regained consciousness at approx 4,000 feet opened 'chute landed ok. I believe pilot jettisoned bombs endeavouring to save crew and aircraft but aircraft crashed 20 miles north of Hannover. The next day I was captured in the goods yard of the village railway station by 2 German soldiers who were searching for me and taken to identify wreckage of aircraft from which German officials had removed the bodies of my 6 colleagues. Taken to Frankfurt for interrogation put into solitary confinement then to Stalag IVB.'

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Courtesy of AWM - "Catepillar Club"

 

This Caterpillar Club badge is associated with the service of Flight Sergeant Norman Macdonald. Macdonald was born in Glasgow, Scotland before immigrating to Australia in 1937. He enlisted in the RAAF in Sydney on 11 October 1941 and qualified as an observer in March 1942.  He embarked for Canada on 25 May as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme where he qualified as a navigator and was promoted to sergeant in October.

Embarking for the United Kingdom on 27 October Macdonald disembarked in Bournemouth on 5 November.  Attached to 460 Squadron RAAF as a flight sergeant on 29 June 1943, Macdonald flew 17 operations as a navigator before transferring to 156 Squadron RAF. He joined the crew of Lancaster JB472 as navigator and flew his first mission on 23 November - a night raid on Berlin. This was closely followed by another night mission to Berlin on 26 November.

On 2 December JB472 took off from Warboys airfield for their third raid on Berlin. In a report given by Macdonald after the war he describes what happened to their aircraft as they flew over eastern Germany:

'Attack by enemy fighter reported by rear gunner - pilot acknowledged, took evasive action and just then we were hit. Crew put on chutes aircraft in steep dive. At approx between 17 and 15, 000 feet violent explosion. I was sucked out the starboard side of aircraft. Regained consciousness at approx 4,000 feet opened 'chute landed ok. I believe pilot jettisoned bombs endeavouring to save crew and aircraft but aircraft crashed 20 miles north of Hannover. The next day I was captured in the goods yard of the village railway station by 2 German soldiers who were searching for me and taken to identify wreckage of aircraft from which German officials had removed the bodies of my 6 colleagues. Taken to Frankfurt for interrogation put into solitary confinement then to Stalag IVB.'

Stalag IVB prisoner of war camp was located near the town of Muhlberg, just off the Elbe river. Macdonald was interned from 18 December 1943 until he was liberated on 23 April 1945. Macdonald returned to Australia and was formally discharged on demobilisation on 2 March 1946.

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