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Artefact of the Month

STUART WILSON-MacDONALD DSO DFC

Stuart MacDonald (he changed his name to Wilson-MacDonald when he married in 1947) joined the RAF on a short service commission in 1935. After initial flying training he was posted to No 41 Squadron in Aden in 1935 to fly Hawker Demon biplane fighters, the squadron being mainly tasked with aerial policing duties.

In the run up to the outbreak of war, after returning to the UK, he carried out flying instructor duties until taking command of No 213 (Hurricane) Squadron at Exeter on 28 August 1940, the squadron being moved to RAF Tangmere on 7 September. During the Battle of Britain, MacDonald was scrambled over eighty times and claimed during the battle one Bf 109 and two Bf 110s destroyed. Awarded the DFC on 17 December 1940, MacDonald embarked with his squadron on the aircraft carrier HMS Furious in May 1941 bound for the Middle East where he remained in command until October 1941. Later in the war he commanded two South African Beaufighter squadrons and his old squadron, No 213, now flying Mustangs. This Wing (No 283) operated from the heel of Italy as the Balkan Air Force supporting guerrilla movements in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece in a ground-attack role. He was awarded the DSO in May 1945.

After the war, Wilson-MacDonald remained in the RAF and in 1948 led a flight of six Vampires of No 54 Squadron on the first transatlantic flight to be accomplished by jet aircraft. He later commanded RAF Stations at Turnhouse and Middle Wallop in the UK and at Sylt and Geilenkirchen in Germany. His last appointment was as Air Attaché at the British Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

Group Captain Stuart Wilson-MacDonald retired from the RAF in 1963 and died, aged 83, on 29 February 1996.

THE PRE-WAR FLYING GOGGLES SHOWN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH FORM PART OF THE STUART WILSON-MacDONALD EXHIBITION IN THE MUSEUM’S MIDDLE HALL

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