Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
Donald Malcolm Thomas (Mac)
b: 15 Aug 1909
r: 15 Aug 1961
d: 26 Oct 1988
© Photo courtesy - D Macdonald
CB – 5 Jun
1952, MiD – 11 Jul 1940, MiD - 1 Jan 1941, MiD - 1 Jan
Plt Off (P): 14 Mar 1930, Plt Off: 14 Mar 1931, Fg Off: 14 Sep 1931, Flt Lt: 14 Sep 1935, Sqn Ldr: 1 Oct 1938, Act Wg Cdr (Tech): 14 Nov 1940, (T) Wg Cdr (Tech): 1 Dec 1940, Act Gp Capt (Tech): 12 Oct 1942, Wg Cdr (Tech) (WS): 12 Apr 1943, (T) Gp Capt (Tech): 1 Jan 1944 - 1 Nov 1947, Wg Cdr (Tech): 1 Oct 1946, Act Gp Capt (Tech): 1 Nov 1947, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1948, Act A/Cdre: 15 Jul 1954, A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1955, Act AVM (unpd): 21 Jan 1957, Act AVM: 8 Mar 1957, AVM: Retained.
1923-1927: Member Westminster School OTC (Sergeant)
14 Mar 1930: Granted a Short Service Commission.
29 Mar 1930: U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.
8 Mar 1931: Pilot, No 7 Sqn.
9 Nov 1931: Pilot, No 503 (County of Lincoln) Sqn.
22 Apr 1932: Attached, No 603 Sqn AuxAF.
1 Jun 1932: Assistant Adjutant, No 603 Sqn AuxAF, wef 23 Apr 1932.
9 Mar 1933: Attended Instrument Flying Course, Central Flying School.
Feb 1934: Attended No 12 Specialist Armament Course, Air Armament School
19 Jan 1935: Armament Officer, No 3 FTS.
14 Mar 1935: Granted a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flying Officer.
25 Mar - 30 Apr 1935: Attended Anti-Gas Course (RAF Depot)
28 Jan 1936: Armament Officer, No 1 (Indian Wing) Station, Kohat.
25 Oct 1937: Armament Officer, HQ No 1 (Indian) Wing.
4 Nov 1938: Supernumerary, No 1 RAF Depot
23 Jan 1939: Attended RAF Staff College
13 Sep 1939: Armament Officer, Advance Air Striking Force
24 Apr 1940: Transferred to the Technical Branch.
27 Jun 1940: Attached to No 17 OTU, pending formation of No 1 Group
1 Jul 1940: Group Armament Officer, HQ No 1 Group (including bomb disposal work at RAF Hucknell)*
14 Nov 1940: Armament Staff Officer, HQ Bomber Command. (Posted from 5 Nov 1940)
xx xxx 1941: Staff, No 20 OTU?
1 Oct 1942: Armament Training Staff Officer, HQ Bomber Command.
5 Oct 1942: Officer Commanding, No 1 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit. (Wigtown/Baldoon)**
4 Jul 1944: Officer Commanding, No 7 Air Gunner School/RAF Stormy Down.
13 Aug1944: Officer Commanding, Control Commission School. (Regent's Park, London)
30 May 1945: Deputy Director of Policy (General) (3).
6 Aug 1946: Deputy Director of Policy (AS2)
20 Oct 1947 RAF Representative at Paris Peace Conference (his brother Capt Malcolm Macdonald RN, attended the Versailles Peace Conference after WW1)
18 Dec 1947 Deputy Director of Policy (AS).
xx Jan 1948: Attended Students Weapons Course, Empire Air Armament School, RAF Manby
8 Mar 1948: Transferred to General Duties (Armament) Branch
Jul-Aug 1948: RAF Walters Ash, High Wycombe.
1 Jan 1949 Weapons Office, Bomber Command HQ, High Wycombe
Nov-Dec 1949 Attended No 24 Senior Course, School of Land/Air Warfare
16 Mar 1950: Officer Commanding, RAF Kabrit (Supernumerary from 10 Mar)
26 Feb 1951: Officer Commanding, RAF Fayid (Supernumerary from 7 Sep 1952, pending posting to UK)
15 Sep 1952: No 5 Personnel Despatch Centre
3 Nov 1952: Chief Instructor, Transport Support Wing, School of Land and Air Warfare, RAF Old Sarum (Supernumerary from 13 Oct)
15 Jul 1954: SASO, HQ Transport Command, RAF Upavon
1 Jan 1956: Attended Imperial Defence College
21 Jan 1957: Director-General of Personal Services (designate)
8 Mar 1957: Director-General of Personal Services.
8 Feb 1958: Director-General of Manning.
|D M T Macdonald on the North West Frontier 1930s||D M T Macdonald in a Wapiti on the North West Frontier 1930s||Advanced Air Striking Force 1940|
|Probably taken in France 1940, DMT Macdonalds is on the left, back row||Battle of Britain Parade, RAF Fayid 16 September 1951||Gp Capt Macdonald (right) and Mrs Macdonald (centre), Egypt|
|AVM Macdonald at RAF Tengah, 1958|
All photos courtesy - Don Macdonald
*When at Bomber Command HQ, Mac told his son that he went on one 1000 bomber raid in order to experience it. According to his log book, the raids he took part in were: 15th Sept 1941 Wellington R1763 from RAF Harrington to Hamburg; 11th Nov 1941 Wellington IV W5367 RAF Binbrook to Essen; 1st June 1942 Stirling R9322 from RAF Stradishall to Essen, which was the second “Thousand Bomber Night”
**RAF Wigtown (Baldoon) features in books by Dennis Sawden, Tom Murchie and Peter Connon. Mac wrote to Peter Connon that when he took over they used Lysanders for towing targets, Bothas for air gunnery and Ansons for navigation training and for bombing. The Lysanders were superseded by Martinets about Septemer1943, about a month after we lost our last Botha which were superseded by power turreted Ansons”
Wigtown was described by many as notorious for air crashes due to “the surrounding terrain and tough wind conditions”. There were also crashes into the sea and also crashes originating from RAF West Freugh. However an official investigation also suggested that further reasons were that many overseas flyers became bored with training and used to take unnecessary risks. In his log book Mac describes searching for missing aircraft on 1st April 1942, 2nd January 1943 (both in Lysanders) and on 26th July 1943 in an Anson.
The station had one of the first RAF Mountain Rescue Units (MRU). According to Peter Connon in an e-mail to his son “The Wigtown Mountain Rescue Unit was set up by the station senior medical officer with the support and encouragement of your father”, with “advice from Wing Commander Ruffell Smith of HQ Flying Training Command and Flt Lt G.D. Graham, a founder member of the MRU in Wales.” The Daily Express had an article on 2nd May 1944, describing 16 searches between 1942-5.
There is a picture of the airfield as it exists now http://www.controltowers.co.uk/W-Z/Wigtown.htm
*** Mac was responsible for overseeing the closure of the RAF 7 AGS at Stormy Down, but the station continued to be used as a French Aircrew Reception Centre. The station did not actually close until 1986
**** In the autumn of 1944 he took command of Control Commission School RAF, a Training Establishment at Viceroy Court, Regent’s Park, to prepare military staff for the the occupation of Germany disarming of the German Air Force
*****Fayed was interesting on several points. There were increasing tensions with the Egyptians in the Suez Canal Zone and his children can remember the radio news announcing that British service men had been attacked and tanks deployed. Calum told his eldest daughter that he received his CB because equivalent officers in the other services had received the same or similar awards. Another highlight was that one of the early flights for the De Havilland Comet landed at RAF Fayed as part of BOAC tests http://www.suezcanalzone.com/pics12.html
I would like to thank his son, Don, for providing the photographs and copies of his father's service record as well as the notes given above
This page was last updated on 24/05/22
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