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The Airmen's Stories - F/O I N MacDougall


Ian Neil MacDougall was born on 11th June 1920 in British Guiana and educated at Morrisons Academy, Crieff. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in April 1938 as a Flight Cadet.

After the outbreak of war Cranwell cadets who had not completed their courses were enlisted in the regular RAF on 7th September 1939 as Airmen u/t Pilots.

MacDougall passed out on 21st October 1939 with a permanent commission. He was posted to 141 Squadron, then reforming at Turnhouse.



The squadron flew south to West Malling on 12th July 1940. Shortly after 0900 on the 19th twelve Defiants moved to the forward airfield at Hawkinge. At 1223 they were ordered to carry out an offensive patrol twenty miles south of Folkestone. Three were left behind with engine trouble.

During the patrol the nine Defiants were surprised by a force of Me109s of III/JG51. MacDougall’s aircraft, L6983, was hit in the engine. He ordered his gunner, Sgt. JF Wise, to bale out. He then managed to get the aircraft back to West Malling. Wise was reported Missing and no trace of him was ever found.

MacDougall was posted to 260 Squadron, operating Hurricanes at Drem on 2nd May 1941, the squadron left for the Middle East later that month.

It was based at Haifa with detachments at Beirut (Lebanon) and El Bassa (Palestine), moving on to bases such as Sidi Rezegh (near Tobruk), Gazala (west of Tobruk), Msus (south-east of Benghazi), Antelat (south of Benghazi), Benina (east of Benghazi) and Martuba (south of Derna).

He was promoted to flight commander at the end of 1941. On 5th April 1942, he had a share in the destruction of a Ju88 and was awarded the DFC (gazetted 15th May 1942), the citation reading:

‘This officer has been engaged in operational flying since October 1939 and took part in numerous sorties by day and night whilst operating from this country. In the Middle East, he has performed much valuable work leading his flight with great skill and zeal on low-level machine-gunning attacks. Throughout he has displayed tremendous keenness and set a high standard.’

MacDougall commanded 94 Squadron in the Western Desert from February to May 1942, operating Hurricanes and Curtiss P-40s then returned to Britain. His next posting was to Malta in May 1943 where he joined 1435 Squadron, equipped with Spitfires.

In June 1943 he was given command of 94 Squadron at Kendri in Malta. Flying a Spitfire on 8th July 1943, he damaged a Me109 and on 20th August 1943 he shared in the destruction of a Cant Z.506 Airone triple-engined floatplane.

In January 1944, he returned to Britain and commanded 131 Squadron from May to October 1944.

He remained in the RAF postwar becoming CFI Cranwell and a War Studies lecturer at the USAF Academy in Colorado. In 1965 he was Chief Air Staff Officer at 38 Group and went on to be Air Defence Commander in Zambia.

He was made CBE in 1967 and was Air Attaché in Paris until retiring on 27th December 1969 as Air Commodore.

MacDougall died in August 1987.


His older brother David served in the RAF and was awarded an immediate DFC for the part he played in the offensive operations from the island of Malta. Since October 1941 he had flown hundreds of hours on night operations with 355 Squadron.

Many were undertaken in severe weather – he distinguished himself on a night operation during February 1942 where he obtained three hits on an enemy convoy of cruisers and destroyers. This may have been the attack on the night of 15/16th February 1942. Taking off from Hall Far on Malta, five Albacore torpedo bombers of 828 Squadron attacked an enemy force of four cruisers and eight destroyers – hits were observed on two cruisers and one destroyer.

From 18th August 1943 until disbanded on 31st May 1946, 355 Squadron was equipped with Liberator III, VI and VIII long-range bombers. They carried out operations against the Japanese during the Burma Campaign flying out of Salbini (Bengal), Digri (Bengal) and Pegu (Burma). The squadron mounted numerous raids on the Burma–Siam railway along with other important targets such as bridges, airfields, port facilities, supply dumps, gun positions, and marshalling yards.


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