Sergeant Alton Ronald MACKAY

Service No: 409163
Born: Brisbane QLD, 18 March 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1941 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 611 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 611 Squadron Spitfire aircraft BL691), Kent, 27 January 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Orpington (St Mary Cray) Cemetery, Kent
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Patrick Joseph and Lydia Ivy Mackay, of Carnegie, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Thursday Island QLD
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1055 hours on 27 January 1943, Spitfire BL691 flown by Sergeant Mackay took off detailed to carry out cine gun training exercise with Sergeant Gilbert in Spitfire EN822. The take-off was normal and at 1105 hours information was received that both aircraft had crashed at Westerham Water Works. EN822 had crashed near Hawley Farm, Westerham soon after take-off killing Sergeant Gilbert. BL691 apparently stalled and spun in from approximately 5/700 feet and crashed near the Water Works killing Sergeant Mackay.

An enquiry into the accident stated: “there was no technical failure BL691 stalled and spun in while searching for EN822.” The Group Captain Malan RAF Station, Biggin Hill said: “it would seem that the aircraft may have hit each other in mid-air.” Witnesses state that EN822 came out of clouds and was on fire before impact with the ground. Group Captain Malan remarked: “the investigating officer believes that EN822 was on fire before impact.”

The pilots were:

Sergeant John Richard Gilbert (412611) (Pilot) (EN822)
Sergeant Alton Ronald Mackay (409163) (Pilot) (BL691)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/27/32

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