Book of Remembrance - Volume  I


Flying Officer Ralph Nelson MacDonald

Royal Canadian Air Force

Son 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.

Following supplementary text and photo are taken From a memorial booklet prepared by the Canadian Bank of Commerce courtesy The 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." A fellow-Pilot: "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 Ackland Copyright 2010

The 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.

Photo from the collection of Kingsley Ackland and is provided courtesy of Brian Ackland Copyright 2005


Following entry is from The Canadian Virtual War Memorial website courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

J/21003 F/O R.N. "Mac" MacDonald is buried at t GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY, Netherlands Grave Reference: XV. D. 15.

Location: 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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