Officer Ralph Nelson MacDonald
Canadian Air Force
of John Nelson MacDonald and Ethel MacDonald, of Glace Bay, Nova
Scotia, Canada, age 21, died on 03-Nov-1944 on a routine maintenance
test flight at Melsbroek, Holland. An original Tiger, F/O MacDonald
had 41 missions under his belt at the time of his death.
supplementary text and photo are taken From a
memorial booklet prepared by the Canadian Bank of Commerce
Canadian Virtual War Memorial Website.
MacDonald, Ralph Nelson - Flying Officer. Born 13th March, 1923, at
Glace Bay, N.S. Educated at Glace Bay High School. Entered the service
of the Bank 27th January, 1941. Served at Glace Bay. Enlisted 6th
November, 1941, from that branch in R.C.A.F. Pilot Officer 20th
November, 1942; Flying Officer 9th August, 1943. Trained at St.
Thomas, Ont., Toronto, and Windsor Mills and St. Hubert, Que.,
graduating from the last-named school as honour student of his class.
Served with 123 Squadron at Debert, N.S. Overseas in August, 1943.
Served with 439 Squadron, with 41 operational flights as Typhoon
pilot. Killed on active service 3rd November, 1944, while testing a
plane. Buried at Eindhoven, and later in permanent Military Cemetery,
Numegen, Holland. His Station Chaplain wrote:
"He was so
admired for his cool courage and generosity of spirit. He asked so
little for himself and did so much for others."
"He was a great
flier, well tried in battle, and never failed to hold his place no
matter how much stuff they threw at him. Everyone liked him and would
willingly follow him on an op."
Photo from the
collection of Kingsley Ackland and is provided courtesy of Brian
following entry is from 439's War Operations Record Book (Form 540): Heavy
cloud all day with haze in the morning and a cold drizzle late
at night. In the morning we were unfortunate in losing J.21003 F/O
R.N. MacDonald who was out carrying out an A & E test. J.20602 F/O
R.H. Laurence was out doing a test as well. But they were doing a bit
of dog-fighting over Eindhoven and "Mac's" aircraft flicked
on recovering from a tight turn and hit a house. Unfortunately , Mac
was killed. He had been with the Squadron when it formed in Canada and
with 439 since arriving overseas except when he was posted away to 83
G.S.U. quite sometime ago when the Squadron was over strength and then
again on having an operation on appendicitis before we left for
France. This lanky youth came from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and had
made 41 operational sorties with a total of 42:10 operational hours.
No operations were carried out today.
the collection of Kingsley Ackland and is provided courtesy of
entry is from The
Canadian Virtual War Memorial website courtesy of
the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
F/O R.N. "Mac" MacDonald is buried at t GROESBEEK
CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY, Netherlands Grave Reference: XV. D.
Groesbeek is located 10 km south east of the town of Nijmegen and
close to the German frontier. GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY is 3 km
north of the village and 1500 meters east of the main road to Nijmegen.
On leaving the A73 motorway at the junction Overasselt Mook Groesbeek
follow directions to Mook. Follow direction signs towards Mook War
cemetery. After passing Mook War cemetery continue to the village of
Groesbeek to a set of traffic lights. Turn left at the lights onto
Dorpstraat passing through Groesbeek. The road name then changes to
Molenweg. A Commission direction sign indicates the right hand turning
from Molenweg onto the Zeven Heuvelenweg. 1 km after entering this
road lies the GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY on the right hand side
of the road
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