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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. I N MacRae


Ian Nicholson MacRae was born on 2nd December 1914 and educated at McLaren High School, Callender, Perthshire. He joined the RAF on 1st September 1931 as an Aircraft Apprentice and passed out in August 1934 as a Metal Rigger.

He later applied for pilot training and was selected. He was posted from RAF Hucknall to 23 Squadron on 15th September 1939.

On 22nd February 1940 Macrae was aloft from Wittering on a searchlight co-operation exercise in Blenheim I L8400 YP-D with crew members AC RW Cullen and AC DH Peuleuve.

They lost radio contact with the ground over Tonbridge and at 1352 Macrae ordered his crew to abandon the aircraft. All bailed out safely and the aircraft came down in the vicinity of Tonbridge. Some reports mention civilian casualties on the ground but no fatalities are recorded that day or afterwards.

MacRae was one of the original members of the Fighter Interception Unit when it was formed at Tangmere. He joined it on 17th April 1940 and its ORB shows him 'giving up flying' in an entry dated 9th March 1941, this may be health related.

He received a Mention in Dispatches (gazetted 14th January 1944).

MacRae died in January 1994 in Richmond upon Thames.


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