Flying Officer John Paterson McDONELL

Service No: 400266
Born: Hawthorn VIC, 8 October 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 July 1940
Unit: No. 127 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 127 Squadron Hurricane aircraft KZ440), Palestine, 27 August 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Kyayat Beach War Cemetery, Israel
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Paterson McDonell and Margaret Isobel McDonell, of East Kew, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Kew VIC
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the afternoon of 27 August 1943 Hurricane KZ440 flown by Flying Officer McDonell was on a Light A.A Cooperation flight which called for low altitude flying, when the aircraft crashed at 1440 hours and he was killed.

The findings of a Court of Inquiry into the accident were as follows: “the pilot approached within about 2,000 yards of the area at 1,000 feet to make sure that the land-site balloons were close-hauled. He then carried out a low level attack. He approached the gun sites from the north-west flying straight towards the hills which rise to 600 feet within 800 yards of the nearest gun site and which have overhead cables on pylons 40 feet high about 2/3rds of their way up. He was flying at 100-150 feet. When very close to the hill he pulled up suddenly into an almost vertical climb and appears to have stalled and crashed. The aircraft burst into flames when it hit the ground, and the pilot must have been killed instantly.” In the opinion of the Court the main causes of the accident were: “carelessness on the part of the pilot in that he failed to reconnoitre sufficiently the area over which he was going to carry out very low level flying. An error of judgement on the part of the pilot in that he did not start climbing early enough when approaching the hill with overhead wires running across it and when he did climb he did so so steeply as to stall the aircraft.”


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, 166/26/217

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