William Robertson "Mac" McRae


use switches
Fighter Pilots
Air Gunners
Navigators/Radar Operators
Other Aircrew
Gallery Gallery
Misc. Miscellaneous

Bill "Mac" McRae

use switches
Site Map Sitemap
Sources Slang
Acknowledgements Thanks/
About Us About
Links Links


Borden Class Told Not to Fly Dangerously

Camp Borden, April 1, 1941 (Special) - Pilots in training from seven Provinces of Canada, four States of the American Union, Newfoundland and Australia, received their wings at a ceremony in the large drill hall, R.C.A.F. station, here tonight, after several months of training under the British Commonwealth Joint Air Training Plan.
The Provinces represented were Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec, and the States were New York, Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana.
The young leading aircraftmen, who received their preliminary training chiefly at Prince Albert, Sask., and Portage la Prairie, Man., will rank henceforth as sergeant-pilots and will be dispersed to other stations.
Group Captain R. S. Grandy, officer commanding the station, extended a hearty welcome to the guests including about fifty relatives and close friends of the young graduates.
Squadron Leader G. V. Priestly, officer commanding No. 1 Squadron, Camp Borden, officiated at the presentation of the badges of proficiency, which will be worn as a token of attaining a distinct step forward in their training.
"You have done a good job; you have worked hard, but your work isn't by any means finished when you leave this station," Squadron Leader Priestly stated.
"You have the best instructors we can get; you have had the best equipment that can be bought. Those who go overseas have much harder work to do yet. I want you to remember that those who went before you have set up a wonderful reputation for the R.C.A.F. You have something to look forward to. I am sure that you will carry out the best traditions of the R.C.A.F.
"Before you finish your training, I want you to remember everything told you. We cannot afford here, or in England, to have dangerous flying. We must keep accidents to a minimum. Dangerous flying causes definite sabotage of the cause in which you are all fighting."
Group Captain Grandy thanked the staff and congratulated the class on catching up on the course despite bad weather during the winter.
The class included K. E. Hobson, Winnipeg, formerly a member of Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and John M. Milmine of Kipling, Sask., whose Scot ancestors fought with Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and whose paternal ancestors since that time have always been in the armed forces of the Empire as instructors.
The lone New Zealander in the wings class is B. J. Halse, a native of Wellington, who has resided in recent years in Sydney, Australia, where he enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force.
Group Captain Grandy congratulated the class. "You are now in a position to start your real flying career," he said. "Please don't take Squadron Leader Priestly's words too lightly regarding dangerous flying. If you are in the right kind of aircraft to do aerobatics, by all means do, but practice them at the proper height, because it is not only dangerous to yourself but also to the people on the ground."
Among the leading aircraftmen who received their "wings," and qualified as sergeant pilots, were the following:
Royal Canadian Air ForceW. R. McRae, Port Arthur; J. R. Manser, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.; G. R. Cushon, Oxbow, Sask.; P. R. Carrillo, New York City; H. W. McLeod, Regina; A. W. Moffatt, Saskatoon; K. E. Hobson, Winnipeg; W. O. Wallace, Calgary; M. J. Whelan, Toronto; J. G. Woodill, Halifax; W. F. Baepre, Quinton, Sask.; W. E. Munn, Regina; H. Byers, Souris, Man.; S. G. Thompson, Moncton; A. E. Mokanyk, Winnipeg; R. G. Calvert, London, Ont.; J. F. Lambert, Winnipeg; J. C. R. Gourdeau, Quebec; G. B. Whitney, Fort Worth, Texas; L. A. Rowat, Winchester, Ont.; M. R. R. Vair, Toronto; D. F. Henderson, Saskatoon; W. H. Beveridge, Isabella, Man.; R. K. Newstub, Winnipeg; R. W. Denison, Winnipeg; H. R. Preece, Hudson Bay Junction, Sask.; H. M. Compton, Ottawa; W. H. McAdam, Regina; F. E. Monette, Regina; J. M. Milmine, Kipling, Sask.; J. D. Stevenson, Winnipeg; T. C. Callaghan, Sudbury, Ont.; J. Sommerville, New Orleans, La.; O. Levesque, Quebec, Que.; W. T. S. Grayson, Maner, Sask.; H. D. Button, Grand Forks, North Dakota; A. H. MacDonald, Fleming, Sask.
Royal Air Force — R. G. White,; St. Johns, Newfoundland; D. B. Lacey, St. Johns, Newfoundland; P. Gruchy, Grand Falls, Newfoundland; R. Mercer, Grand Falls, Newfoundland.
Royal Australian Air Force — T. Cleary, Brisbane; R. E. Anderson, Sydney; B. J. Halse, Wellington, New Zealand; B. M. Geissmann, Brisbane.

Cadets on the move
Scribner, Ontario, January 1941 - Having graduated from 14 EFTS (Portage la Prairie), this group of pilot cadets is railing east to attend SFTS at Borden. From the left: Omer Levesque, W.H.? Beveridge, A.H. Nesbitt, W.O. Wallace, Bill McRae, S.L.? Thompson & A.E. Mokanyk. Of this group, only McRae made it through the war relatively "trouble-free". Nesbitt died in a flying accident at Borden the next month, Levesque, shot down early in 1942, spent the rest of the war as a POW & the other four all went overseas but never made it home. (McRae collection)


Born in Aberdeen, Scotland on 9 Sept. 1919
Son of Alexina & Edward Brown McRae
Family moved to Port Arthur in 1922
Home there
Attending Prospect Avenue Elementary School &
Port Arthur Technical & Commercial High School
Enlisted on 13 June 1940, 20 years old
But not called to Manning Depot until August
No.?? ITS, ??
No.14 EFTS, Portage la Prairie (January, 1941)
(Tiger Moths, 1st solo on 13 January)
No. 1 SFTS, Camp Borden (Yales & Harvards)
(Graduated 1 April 1941, 1st in his class of 18)
Winged as a Sergeant Pilot, he was commissioned
- a few weeks later, back dated to 1 April
Sent overseas he attended OTU before being
Posted to 132 Squadron
Also served with 401 Squadron



London, 27 Sept. 1943 (CP) — R.C.A.F. overseas headquarters announced the following promotions of Ontario fliers (in part):
From Flying Officer to Flight Lieutenant – D. E. Noonan, Kingston; W. A. Olmsted, Hamilton; W. R. McRae, Port Arthur.
From Flying Officer to Temporary Flight Lieutenant – J. H. Turnbull, St. Thomas; H. J. Everard, Timmins.
From Pilot Officer to Temporary Flying Officer – D. H. Dover, Mount Dennis.



With the R.C.A.F. in Normandy, July 27, 1944 – (CP) - Canadian Spitfire pilots flying from beachhead airfields today destroyed at least 12 enemy aircraft. In an early morning sweep, F/L D.E. Noonan, Kingston, a City of Oshawa squadron pilot, destroyed a FW 190. He made his kill as the enemy aircraft was about to land. His victim crashed without a shot being fired while taking evasive action. F/L G.E Mott, Sarnia, shot down a FW 190 over Argences. Mott, whose sixth victory this is, belongs to a squadron led by S/L Tommy Brannagan, Windsor. F/L W. R. McRae, Port Arthur, F/L G.W. Johnson, Belleville, and P/O M.H. Havers, Hamilton, all accounted for ME 109's.


401 Squadron Pilots
401 Sq. pilots, Staplehurst 1943 - Standing in back: Don Kelly, Jack Sheppard, Bill Klersy, Bob Hayward, Art Bishop, Bob Buckles, LAC Pudge & Jeep Neal. Sitting in front: F/O Evans, F/S Stevens, F/O Bill Tew, Al Studholme, Norm Maybee (behind Studholme & McRae), Bill McRae, Keith Hodson & Tex Sanders.


Victories Include :

7 July 1944
27 July 1944
one Me109
one Me109

2 / 0 / 0





top     home

All content should be considered the property of the contributers and/or The Canadian Fighter Pilot & Air Gunner Museum - unless otherwise noted