Flying Officer Malcolm Arthur McRAE

Service No: 400817
Born: Yea VIC, 17 February 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1940
Unit: No. 135 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 135 Squadron Hurricane aircraft BM947), 7 January 1943, India, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Calcutta (Bhowanipore) Cemetery, India
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Farquhar and Laura Mabel McRae, of Caulfield, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The following is the proceedings of a Court of Inquiry on a fatal accident on 7 January 1943, involving Hurricane BM947 flown by Flying Officer McRae. The accident took place at 1805 hours on 7 January 1943 at Dum Dum aerodrome in Calcutta. The Commanding Officer of No. 135 Squadron said that McRae was an extremely good pilot and was engaged at the time in flying the Hurricane from No 10 Repair and Salvage Unit Red Road to Dum Dum. The aircraft had just undergone a 240 hourly inspection necessitating an engine change, a change of both main planes, and a repair to the top starboard longeron. Since the completion of the inspection the plane had flown 2 hours in five flights. On coming in to land and when at a height of about 80 feet, flames were observed from the exhaust ports and just before the aircraft touched down when whole nose of the aircraft burst into flame. The Pilot was seen to make an effort to get out, but was overcome.”

The findings of the Court were: “primary cause -failure of the rubber coolant hose between the header tank and the port glycol rail; secondary cause – this failure caused glycol vapour to collect inside the engine cowling and cockpit. The vapour ignited prior to the aircraft touching down and the fire extended as the aircraft ran along the ground.”


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, 166/26/30

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