View Full Version : Wallace Mcintosh DFC* DFM - RIP

A Sayers
6th Jun 2007, 16:40
I was fortunate to hear Wallace talk about his life last year. At the talk he announced that he did not plan do do any more talks after 2006. A real highland gentleman, he probably knew what was coming and faced it as he had everything in life. At the talk he produced the signed telegram from Bomber Harris congratulating him on three confirmed kills on one mission. Bomber apparantly only ever signed a few. Abandoned by his parents, in his youth Wallace walked to school with no shoes even in snow, lived by poaching for the pot and had little education. As an AC2 just joined, he was put on a charge by his officer for firing at an enemy bomber with his .303. The charge was quashed by Batchy Atcherly who nominated him for an air gunners course. He became Bomber Commands Master Air Gunner. The book is excellent.

His funeral will be at Dyce.

From the Scotsman:

HE SURVIVED 55 missions and became the most successful and decorated rear gunner in the whole of Bomber Command.

Wallace McIntosh DFC DMF, a hero of the Second World War, has died at the age of 87.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal after 32 missions, then returned for a second tour of duty.

He then received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 and a month later he added a bar to it, the equivalent of being awarded a second.

Mr McIntosh also held the record for the highest number of enemy kills: eight confirmed hits and one unconfirmed.

But his most special moment was when he was sent a telegram to congratulate him from Air Marshall "Bomber" Harris.

His daughter, Mary McIntosh, 44, said yesterday: "He was a well-travelled man and said he had had a wonderful life.

"He always described his education as 'faces and places' and actively encouraged us to see as much of the world as we could and take up every opportunity that came our way.

"We never really became aware of his achievements until after he retired. He had a very hard start to life and did well to overcome that. Now his grandson Alistair is keen to follow in his footsteps. He wants to join the air force and has notched up ten hours in the air."

Mr McIntosh was born in a barn near Tarves, in Aberdeenshire, in 1920. He grew up to work in various jobs as a labourer and gamekeeper in Perthshire before joining the RAF.

He worked a dangerous position as a rear gunner, crouched in a small turret in the back of a plane acting as its main line of defence. He flew 55 sorties, mostly at night, between 1943 and 1944 in four-engined Lancasters from 207 Squadron at Langar in Nottinghamshire and Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

Bombing Germany fell to RAF aircrews, who faced some of the most terrifying combat conditions of the Second World War. The Germans tended to attack from the rear, leaving the rear gunner one of the most threatened targets in the plane.

Mr McIntosh lost 1,007 comrades from his squadron. He later completed a sponsored tour round bomber stations to raise funds for two memorials. A memorial to the 207 Squadron now stands on the base of the Fire Tender shed in Spilsby.

After retiring from service, he worked with Hydro Electric and later as an agricultural salesman in Aberdeenshire. There he met his wife, Christina Cooper, the daughter of a local farmer. They had three children before she died in 1989.

His story was ghost-written by Mel Rolfe in a book named Gunning for the Enemy in 2003.

Two years later, an artist depicted his Lancaster bomber returning from its mission over the Cherbourg Peninsula in France on 7 May, 1944, as part of the D-Day advance.

Mr McIntosh's other daughter, Anne Blaha, 48, said: "He was an active man and was a member of the Air Gunners' Association helping them raise memorial funds. He was terrific."

Michael Mulford, an RAF spokesman, said: "This guy was a true hero. Anyone who flew in Lancasters during the bombings knew the odds were against them. Your life was on the line every moment. To do the job as well as he did was truly exceptional. Only the very skilled and very lucky made it to the next night, when the odds got shorter.

"He did that 55 times and lived to tell the tale. When the nation needed heroes like Wallace McIntosh, he did not let us down. We should all set aside a moment to thank him and his generation for their courage and sacrifice."

Douglas Radcliffe, secretary of the Bomber Command Association, said: "There were maybe six or seven crew, but the rear gunner had his back to all of them. It was lonely and very dangerous."

Mr Mulford added: "Rear gunners held one of the most dangerous jobs during the Second World War. The rear gunners in Bomber Command understood they were lucky to get through one night alive. Most of them became training instructors after 30 rounds. However, Wallace received his distinguished flying medal after 32 missions then volunteered himself again."

Mr McIntosh died at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Monday after suffering from lung cancer.

6th Jun 2007, 18:24
A gallant gentleman indeed, we owe them all so much.

PPRuNe Pop
7th Jun 2007, 07:42
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