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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. H I MacRory


Harry Ian MacRory of Penge, Kent was born in late 1919 in Bromley, Kent, the son of Harry Ian and Elsie Cousins Macrory (nee Bailey).

He is recorded as sailing to Buenos Aires aged 10 on the SS Arlanza from Southampton on 13th May 1930, returning on the SS Almanzora on 15th August 1930.

On both voyages he was accompanied by his mother and younger sister Yvonne Anna, their home address was given as 'The Savoy, London'.

His father, a chartered accountant, died in Buenos Aires in 1945 so it may be presumed that he worked there and his family were visiting.

HI MacRory joined 601 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force before the war as an Aircrafthand. He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939 and later remustered as an Airman u/t Air Gunner.

He joined 23 Squadron at Collyweston on 5th August 1940.

He was killed with his crew on 3rd January 1941, still serving with 23 Squadron, aged 21.

Blenheim If L6781 'X' was lost, cause unknown, on a night intruder sortie. The body of the pilot, S/Ldr. CHA Colman, was washed up at Worthing and he is buried in Tangmere churchyard. MacRory and F/Sgt. DW Mathews were not found.

However recent research has found a report of an incident on the same night.

103 Squadron launched four Wellingtons from RAF Newton at 1630 to attack Bremen. On the return leg, the aircraft of F/Lt LM Blome-Jones, N2770, was attacked from below by a night fighter when near the French coast.

The assailant was seen approaching in a climbing turn and opened fire at 200 yards range. As it passed astern of the rear turret, Sgt Bedford opened fire with two bursts and noticed strikes on its fuselage, following which it dived through clouds and was not seen again. At this point the Wellington switched on its IFF since it was approaching the British coastline and was being coned by searchlights.

In the absence of any report of loss or damage to a German night fighter, it seems likely that the attacking aircraft was L6781.

MacRory is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 48.



Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner.


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