Pilot Officer Wilbur Charles McLAY

Service No: 408865
Born: Bendigo VIC, 30 October 1910
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 June 1941
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, Darwin NT
Died: Air Operations: (No. 2 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-187), Ambon, 22 May 1942, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Andrew and Mary Jane McLay; husband of Jessie Camelia McLay, of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered; Column 9, Ambon Memorial, Indonesia
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

A similar attack (on Japanese shipping in Ambon harbour) was made on 22nd May by eight aircraft drawn from both Nos. 2 and 13 Squadrons. Squadron Leader Archibald Bertram McFarlane (250207) again led the attack. On this occasion the Japanese had some warning and the Hudsons were received with a heavy anti-aircraft barrage and by enemy fighters which attacked immediately and shot down two of the Hudsons, one piloted by Flying Officer Philip Gardner Brooks (407219) of No. 13 Squadron and the other by Pilot Officer Graham William Charles Allchin (401321) of No. 2 Squadron, who had been unable to remain in formation. The rear-gunner in a Hudson piloted by Flying Officer Arthur John Sharp (402140) shot down one attacking Zero and two others that were hit by fire from the Hudsons’ guns broke off combat.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – page 560

The crew members A16-187 were:

Pilot Officer Graham William Charles Allchin (401321) (Pilot) PoW, Executed 22 November 1942
Flying Officer Kenneth Irving Kersten (406857) (Second Pilot)
Pilot Officer Wilbur Charles McLay (408865) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Laurence John Montgomerie (406865) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Executed 22 November 1942

No. 13 Squadron Hudson lost Hudson A16-174 (Flying Officer Phillip Gardner Brooks (407219) (Pilot)) on 22 May 1942.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/47/123


Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Grantham, S.R. (Sidney Richard) (6590) The 13 Squadron Story, S.R. Grantham, Dee Why NSW 2099, 1991
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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