Ian Donald Roy McDonald

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Ian Donald Roy McDonald
Born (1898-09-09)9 September 1898
Saint John's, Antigua, British West Indies
Died 22 September 1920(1920-09-22) (aged 22)
Dangatora, Iraq
Commemorated at Basra Memorial, Basra, Iraq
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1916–1922
Rank Captain
Unit No 39 Squadron RFC
No. 24 Squadron RAF
Awards Military Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross

Captain Ian Donald Roy McDonald MC, DFC (9 September 1898 – 22 September 1920) was a British World War I flying ace credited with 20 aerial victories.[1] Although born in the British West Indies, he returned to England to serve in the air force. After his successful career in combat, he spent a short while at home before returning to the colours. He served in Iraq postwar, and was executed there by insurgents.

Early life[edit]

Although McDonald was born in the Caribbean, he was a British citizen. His father was a legislator.[2]

World War I service[edit]

The younger McDonald joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and became a fighter pilot.[2] On 26 April 1917, he was appointed a flying officer with the rank of temporary second lieutenant.[3] He was first assigned to 39 (Home Defence) Squadron. From there, he transferred to A Flight, 24 Squadron on 11 July 1917. Flying an Airco DH.5, he scored his first three victories between 30 November and 10 December 1917. Then the squadron upgraded to Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5as. McDonald began to score with his new machine; his second victory on 26 February 1918, shared with Ronald T. Mark, Herbert Richardson, and three other pilots, made McDonald an ace.[2]

McDonald missed scoring in March, but was appointed as a flight commander with the rank of temporary captain on the 15th.[4] He tallied six wins in April, four in May, and three in the first week in June. Then, on 17 June, teaming with Horace Barton, George Owen Johnson, and C. E. Walton, he forced down into captivity one of Germany's leading aces, Kurt Wüsthoff. Four days later, McDonald went for a rest.[2] He had become the squadron's second scoring ace.[5]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Foe Result Location Notes
1 15 November 1917
@ 1330 hours
s/n A9471
Albatros D.III Driven down out of control Southeast of Dixmude, Belgium
2 30 December 1917
@ 1235 hours
s/n A9339
German reconnaissance aircraft Driven down out of control Fontaine
3 10 December 1917
@ 1200 hours
s/n A9257
Albatros D.V Destroyed South of Honnecourt-sur-Escaut, France
4 26 February 1918
@ 0840 hours
s/n C1057
Fokker Triplane Destroyed East of Laon, France
5 26 February 1918
@ 0900 hours
s/n C1057
Fokker Triplane Destroyed East of Samoussy, France Victory shared with Ronald Mark, Herbert Richardson, James Dawe, two other pilots
6 7 April 1918
@ 1550 hours
s/n C9613
Albatros D.V Destroyed Bois de Moreuil, France
7 11 April 1918
@ 1655 hours
s/n C9613
LVG reconnaissance aircraft Driven down out of control Villers-Bretonneux, France
8 12 April 1918
@ 1615 hours
s/n C9613
Albatros D.V Destroyed Between Hangard and Moreuil, France
9 Albatros D.V Driven down out of control
10 20 April 1918
@ 0955 hours
s/n C9613
Pfalz D.III Destroyed South of Morcourt, France
11 23 April 1918
@ 1445 hours
s/n C9613
Pfalz D.III Destroyed South of Warfusée
12 3 May 1918
@ 1835 hours
s/n C9613
Fokker Triplane Destroyed Le Quesnel, France
13 16 May 1918
@ 0615 hours
s/n D279
Albatros D.V Driven down out of control Foucaucourt, France
14 28 May 1918
@ 0600 hours
s/n D3444
Fokker D.VII Driven down out of control Maricourt, France
15 31 May 1918
@ 1730 hours
s/n D3444
Albatros D.V Destroyed Becquigny, France
16 2 June 1918
@ 1115 hours
s/n D3444
Siemens-Schuckert D.III Destroyed Contoire, France
17 3 June 1918
@ 1120 hours
s/n D3444
Albatros reconnaissance aircraft Destroyed Southeast of Marcelcave, France Victory shared with James Dawe
18 5 June 1918
@ 0805 hours
s/n D3444
Observation balloon Destroyed Moreuil, France
19 7 June 1918
@ 1145 hours
s/n D3444
Fokker Triplane Destroyed Rosières, France
20 17 June 1918
@ 1200 hours
s/n D3444
Fokker D.VII Forced down and captured Cachy, France Victory over Blue Max winner Kurt Wusthoff shared with Horace Barton, George Owen Johnson, C. E. Walton[6]

Post World War I[edit]

He exited the Royal Air Force in early 1919[5] and went home to Antigua,[2] suffering from eye strain.[7] He then returned to the RAF,[2] gaining a permanent commission as a lieutenant on 1 August 1919[8] and becoming an instructor at RAF Cranwell. In 1920, he was assigned to flight operations in Iraq.[2] On 22 September 1920, he flew[7] DH.9a no. F2838[9] on a relief expedition to drop food to a stranded boat, the Greenfly. He was shot down by ground fire at Samawahon, and seen to wade ashore. He was executed at Dangatora.[7] He is commemorated on Panels 43 and 64 of the Basra Memorial.[10]

Honours and awards[edit]

Distinguished Flying Cross
Lt. (temp. Capt.) Ian Donald Roy McDonald, M.C.
"A dashing, fighting pilot. In the past two months he has destroyed five enemy machines and brought down two others out of control. At all times he shows a fine offensive spirit and complete disregard of danger."[11]
Military Cross
Lt. Ian Donald Roy McDonald, R.A.F.
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. With seven scouts he attacked eighteen enemy machines, of which three were destroyed and one driven down completely out of control. When driven down to within 200 feet of the ground by two enemy machines owing to a choked engine, he turned on them and drove one down. He has in all destroyed eleven enemy aircraft and carried out valuable work in attacking enemy troops on the ground."[12][13]


  1. ^ a b "Ian Donald Roy McDonald". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Shores et.al. (1990), p.270.
  3. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30090". The London Gazette. 22 May 1917. p. 5072. 
  4. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30618". The London Gazette. 5 April 1918. p. 4283. 
  5. ^ a b Franks (2007), p.39.
  6. ^ "Kurt Wüsthoff". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c "Personals: Deaths". Flight. XII (626): 1297. 23 December 1920. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "no. 31486". The London Gazette. 1 August 1919. pp. 9864–9868. 
  9. ^ Smith, Vic (2015). "September 1920 Reported Accidents". Vic's Aviation History Site. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Casualty Details: McDonald, Ian Donald Roy". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30827". The London Gazette. 2 August 1918. p. 9201. 
  12. ^ "Honours: Medals for RAF". Flight. X (508): 1051. 19 September 1918. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "(Supplement) no. 30901". The London Gazette. 13 September 1918. p. 10986.