Battle of Britain Monument Home THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN LONDON MONUMENT Battle of Britain London Monument
The Battle of Britain London Monument "Never in the field of human
conflict was so much owed
by so many to so few
Site of Battleof Britain London Monument Work in Progress London Monument Site Drawing of Battle of Britain London Monument
Battle of Britain London Monument Home    

The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. R J McNair

Robin John McNair was born on 21st May 1918 in Hove and was educated at Gaveney House, Hampstead and Douai Schools.

He joined the RAFVR in March 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot and began his flying training at 16 E&RFTS Shoreham.



Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 7th July 1940. He converted to Spitfires and joined 3 Squadron at Wick on 28th July where he flew Hurricanes.

In the same month he married Estelle Ruth Townsend at St. Thomas of Canterbury, Leonards-on-Sea.

On 28th September McNair was posted to 249 Squadron at North Weald. He went on to 96 Squadron when it was formed at Cranage on 18th December 1940. He destroyed a He111 over Liverpool on 12th March 1941. With his tour completed, McNair was posted to a night-fighter OTU as an instructor.

He was commissioned in November 1941. In early 1942 McNair joined 87 Squadron at Charmy Down and flew with the squadron in the Dieppe operation on 19th August.



He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 22nd September 1942). In October he was posted to 245 Squadron at Middle Wallop and became a Flight Commander in early 1943.

McNair was given command of 247 Squadron at Merston in January 1944 and led the squadron to Normandy in June. Whilst leading it on an armed reconnaissance in July, his Typhoon was hit by flak and his engine failed. McNair glided over enemy lines through intense fire and landed in a field.

He was posted away in August, became CFI at 55 OTU Aston Down and was awarded a Bar to the DFC (gazetted 26th September 1944).

In 1945 McNair converted to Meteors and was in command of 74 Squadron when he was released from the RAF in January 1946.

McNair joined the Ministry of Civil Aviation, then went to British European Airways on its foundation in 1946. From 1951 to 1956 he was deputy to Lord Amherst, director of BEA's Associated Companies and helped to establish smooth commercial relations between the airline's foreign subsidiaries. After holding a series of senior appointments, which entailed responsibility for the establishment of new routes and overseas marketing, McNair retired in 1979 from British Airways, into which BEA and BOAC had merged.

Away from work, McNair gave freely of his time to many causes, but especially to the Roman Catholic Church and his old school Douai.

He died on 18th May 1996 in Chichester.



Battle of Britain Monument