Hector Earl McRaeRank:Flying OfficerService No:J/20195Service:Royal Canadian Air Force428 "Ghost" Squadron.Date of Birth:May 27, 1920Place of Birth:Huxley, Alberta Date of Enlistment:July 10, 1941Place of Enlistment:Calgary, AlbertaAge at Enlistment:21 Height: 6 feet; ½ inchWeight: 150 LbsComplexion: MediumEyes: BlueHair: BrownAddress at Enlistment:Huxley, AlbertaEmployment:Farm LabourerMarital Status:SingleReligion:United Church of CanadaNext of Kin:Gordon McRae (Father) Huxley, AlbertaHector Earl McRae was the son of Gordon and Gertrude Sarah May (Marshall) McRae, of Huxley, Alberta, Canada. He was a brother of George Henry, and James Marshall McRae. Although his first name was Hector, he was always called Earl. His brother, James (Jim) McRae, a Yarmouth resident, also served with the RCAF during WWII.Born in Huxley, Alberta, Earl completed twenty-one subjects at Huxley High School #1575 in 1937. Following his schooling he worked on the family farm between 1937 and 1941. He played hockey, softball and curled, all moderately. He applied to the RCAF on July 8, 1941 indicating he wished to enlist as a pilot. Earl completed Initial Training at Regina, Saskatchewan between February 15 and April 8, 1943; Elementary Training with No. 19 Elementary Flying Training School (19 EFTS) at RCAF Station Virden, Manitoba between April 26, 1942 and July 3, 1942; and Service Flying Training at Brandon, Manitoba between July 6, 1942 and October 23, 1943. He was awarded his Pilot’s Flying Badge on October 23, 1942. He was considered a capable and hard worker, keen, respectful, quiet with an unassuming personality with a fine determination and sense of responsibility; very conscientious in his work and was popular with the men.He embarked for the United Kingdom on December 12, 1942 and was taken on strength with No.20 (P) Advanced Flying Unit (AFU) on March 26, 1943 where he was considered to be a pilot of above average ability, keen and reliable and a sound Captain. He took a keen interest in his crew and maintained good discipline throughout his course; with No. 24 Operational Training Unit (OTU) on May 18, 1943 where he was recommended for four engine bombers; 1664 Conversion Unit on July 24, 1943; and 428 Squadron on August 17, 1943. On the night of September 22/23, 69 Halifax Bombers from 419, 427, 428, and 429 Squadrons plus 6 Lancasters from 426 Squadron RAF Middleton St George were joined by 14 Wellingtons from 432 Squadron on an attack at Hanover, Germany. According to reports, the visibility was good.Flying Officer McRae and the crew of six, flying a Halifax V LK-635 coded NA-H, failed to return from this operation. All were lost without a trace. Initially listed as presumed dead, an official receipt of a Certificate of Presumption of Death was issued on November 4, 1944.Date of Death:Between September 22, 1943 and September 23, 1943 Age at Death:23 Memorial:Runnymede MemorialPanel 174Listed on the Runnymede Memorial, Commemorated on Page 193 of the Second World War Book of RemembranceDisplayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on April 20Sources and Information:Commonwealth War Graves CommissionVeterans Affairs Canadahttp://www.telusplanet.net/public/dickieb/harry/documents/september22.html
Hector Earl McRae
No. 428 Squadron RCAFMotto: "Usque ad finem" ("To the very end").Badge: In a shroud, a death's head. The badge refers to the squadron's nickname "Ghost"- a nickname earned through many hours of night-bombing operations - and also to the death and destruction which the squadron carried to the enemy.