Flying Officer Donald “Mac” MacIntosh DFC Legion d’Honneur
Mac was born in Scotland on 28 May 1922 and joined the RAF in 1941, aged just 19. He was posted to Newquay for Basic Training and Pilot Ground School. He was then given 10 hours of Pilot aptitude testing in a Tiger Moth. He passed selection and was sent to No 5 BFTS in Florida for training. He started flying the Stearman PT17s, then graduated to the Harvard. He passed out successfully and returned to the UK to continue training on the Oxford. He was then posted to the Operational Training Unit at Silverstone to learn to fly the Wellington. Over 100 aircrew were huddled into a large room and told to crew up and proceed through the exit door to give crew names once they had a full crew. Mac knew it was essential to have a good navigator and saw an intelligent looking chap sitting quietly in the corner. The Navigator had left studying for a Science degree at Oxford to join the RAF and had qualified ahead of all his peers. Mac bagged him and then a bomb aimer, Wireless operator and two air gunners. They were now a crew, all acting Sergeants and all very young. On one sortie toward the end of the course, after takeoff, the Wellington was vibrating very badly and Mac couldn’t get any more speed from her. He had a bracket of less than 5 kts between his current maximum speed and stall speed. Very skillfully, with the help of the whole crew, he landed, to find out that they were the only known crew to have survived a Wellington flight with 2 wing fuel covers undone. The airframe fitter who had forgotten to secure them was charged and Mac was congratulated by the CO.
Mac’s crew were then posted to the Heavy Conversion Unit at Wigsley to fly the Stirling for a month, they were then declared “combat ready” and were posted to IX(B) Squadron at Bardney, Lincolnshire. Mac’s crew, under his exceptional leadership, went from strength to strength and were soon formation leaders, pathfinder leaders and windfinder leaders. Mac’s crew successfully flew all 3 TIRPITZ raids. Other attacks included sinking a destroyer in Gdynia Harbour, 3 dams, 2 oil refineries, 4 viaducts, 3 bridges, 3 submarine pens, 1 ammo dump, 2 flying bomb sites, 2 cities and finally, hitting Adolf Hitler’s home at Berchtesgaden on 2 April 1945.
Mac’s crew completed over 40 operational missions, they might have had some luck, but they had an exceptional operational pilot, a brilliant Navigator, keen-eyed air gunners and above average Flight Engineer and Bomb Aimer.
Mac was commissioned in 1944 and awarded the DFC in 1945. At the end of the Second World War, Mac got himself onto a RAF Transport Command Conversion Course by bribing a WRAF Corporal with some stockings. Having converted to transport aircraft, he left the RAF with many happy memories and joined British South American Airways, which in 1949 became BOAC, then BA. Mac was a Captain on Lancastrians, Yorks, Comets, Boeing 707s then Boeing 747s for over 30 years.
Captain Donald MacIntosh DFC was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 2015.
Mac passed away on 10 Jan 2019 and his Funeral was held on 23 Jan 2019. Representatives from the IX(B) Sqn Association, IX(B) Sqn RAF Marham and IX(B) Sqn (Designate) RAF Lossiemouth, were in attendance.
Sqn Ldr (Ret’d) Richard James