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The Airmen's Stories - P/O C A McGaw


Charles Alexander McGaw was born on 3rd November 1915 in Peebleshire, Scotland, the son of William and Agnes McGaw.

His family emigrated to Stanthorpe in Queensland, Australia in 1920.

He returned to the UK to study at Scots College, Warwick and then served an engineering apprenticeship in Glasgow from 1931 to 1936. On completion he began work as a draughtsman and later worked for the Air Ministry as an inspector.

On 13th June 1939 McGaw began elementary flying training as a candidate for a RAF short service commission. He was accepted and after completing his course in early April 1940 McGaw went to 6 OTU Aston Down on the 28th to convert to Hurricanes.



He then joined 73 Squadron in France on 13th May. McGaw damaged a Me109 on 15th September. He served with 73 Squadron until 23rd October 1940 when it began preparations to go to the Middle East. He then joined 66 Squadron at West Malling.

On 8th December 1940 McGaw was posted to CFS Cranwell for an instructor's course. He instructed until early 1943, then converted to twin-engined aircraft and in July was posted to 18 Squadron, operating Bostons in the Mediterranean. The squadron moved to Sicily in August 1943.

On 1st October McGaw was captain of Boston III W8398 'G', one of eight aircraft detailed to attack a bridge in Italy. They took off from Gerbini but bad weather forced six of the aircraft to turn back, including McGaw's.

On the way his aircraft's engines failed and he ditched in the sea near Messina. The Boston broke up on impact. Only one of the crew was picked up.

McGaw is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

Also lost were F/O JH Spark and Sgt. WL Fulton. Spark's body was recovered and buried in Catania War Cemetery, Sicily.

The CWGC records that he was married to Margaret Turner McGaw.



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