Charles Alexander MCGAW


MCGAW, Charles Alexander

Service Number: 42414
Enlisted: 13 June 1939
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Last Unit: No. 18 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Peebleshire, Scotland, 3 November 1915
Home Town: Stanthorpe, Southern Downs, Queensland
Schooling: Scots College, Warwick, Queensland
Occupation: AIr Ministry Inspector
Died: Killed In Action, Messina, Sicily, Italy, 1 October 1943, aged 27 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Lost over the Mediterranean
Memorials: Malta Memorial, Floriana
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World War 2 Service

13 Jun 1939: Enlisted Royal Air Force (WW2), SN 42414
13 May 1940: Involvement Royal Air Force (WW2), Pilot Officer, SN 42414, No. 73 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
23 Oct 1940: Transferred Royal Air Force (WW2), Pilot Officer, No. 66 Squadron (RAF)
1 Jul 1943: Transferred Royal Air Force (WW2), Flight Lieutenant, No. 18 Squadron (RAF)

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Charles Alexander MCGAW - Battle of Britain - (1913-1943)

Charles Alexander McGaw was born on 3rd November 1915 in Peebleshire, Scotland. His family emigrated to Stanthorpe in Queensland, Australia in 1920.

He returned to the UK to study at Scots College, Warwick and then served an engineering apprenticeship in Glasgow from 1931 to 1936. On completion he began work as a draughtsman and later worked for the Air Ministry as an inspector.

On 13th June 1939 McGaw began elementary flying training as a candidate for a RAF short service commission. He was accepted and after completing his course in early April 1940 McGaw went to 6 OTU Aston Down on the 28th to convert to Hurricanes.

He then joined 73 Squadron in France on 13th May. McGaw damaged a Bf109 on 15th September. He served with 73 until 23rd October 1940 when it began preparations to go to the Middle East. He then joined 66 Squadron at West Malling.

On 8th December 1940 McGaw was posted to CFS Cranwell for an instructor's course. He instructed until early 1943, then converted to twin-engined aircraft and in July was posted to 18 Squadron, operating Bostons in the Mediterranean. The squadron moved to Sicily in August 1943.

On 1st October McGaw was captain of Boston III W8398 'G', one of eight aircraft detailed to attack a bridge in Italy. They took off from Gerbini but bad weather forced six of the aircraft to turn back, including McGaw's. On the way his aircraft's engines failed and he ditched in the sea near Messina. The Boston broke up on impact. Only one of the crew was picked up.

McGaw is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

Also lost were F/O JH Spark and Sgt. WL Fulton. Spark's body was recovered and buried in Catania War Cemetery, Sicily.