|Born||March 27, 1920|
|Died||June 4, 2007(aged 87)|
|Place of birth||Tarves, Aberdeenshire, Scotland|
|Place of death||Aberdeen, Scotland|
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1939–1948|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Flight Lieutenant Wallace McIntosh DFC and Bar, DFM (27 March 1920 – 4 June 2007) flew 55 bombing missions with the RAF during the Second World War as an air gunner in Lancaster bombers. He was recognized as the most successful air gunner in Bomber Command, having shot down eight enemy aircraft (7 were shared with M/U Gunner Larry Sutherland) two "probables" and one "damaged" (also shared with Sutherland). In one operation on the day after D-Day, they shot down three German night fighters.
Biography[edit | edit source]
McIntosh was born in a barn in Tarves in Aberdeenshire during a blizzard. His mother was an unmarried teenage servant. He was raised by his grandparents alongside their seven children, moving from farm to farm in Perthshire and Aberdeenshire in search of seasonal work. He attended fourteen schools, finally leaving at the age of 13. He worked as an agricultural labourer, but helped to support his family by poaching sheep, salmon and pheasants. He later became a gamekeeper.
On the outbreak of the Second World War, he rode his bicycle the 30 miles (50 km) to Dundee, aiming to join the RAF, but was rejected on account of his poor education. At the urging of a local priest, the RAF relented and he was recruited as an aircraftman. He served on the ground, but became an air gunner in March 1943, and joined 207 Squadron at RAF Langar, near Nottingham, as a mid-upper turret gunner in the Lancaster bomber flown by Flying Officer Fred Richardson. He claimed two German aircraft "probably destroyed" during his first tour of 32 missions, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in 1943. After his first tour of duty, he became an air gunnery instructor. He was commissioned in June 1943. He returned to active duty with 207 Squadron at RAF Spilsby in Lincolnshire in February 1944, as a rear gunner in the Lancaster flown by Wing Commander John Grey, the squadron's commander. He shot down a Me 110 in a raid over Mailly-le-Camp in Champagne on 3 May 1944 (The only kill he had without Sutherland, who's logbook records no flight that day).
On 7 June 1944, he joined a raid of 112 Lancaster bombers in support of the D-Day landings the previous day, attacking a concentration of German tanks in woods near Cerisy-la-Forêt, between Bayeux and St Lô in Normandy. He and a colleague, Canadian Pilot Officer Larry Sutherland, together shot down two Ju 88s on the way to the target. In the return journey, they shot down an Me 210 over Beachy Head. Both gunners were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. McIntosh received a congratulatory Postagram from the usually taciturn Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris.
In July 1944, he shot down two German night fighters in a raid on Stuttgart and was awarded a Bar to his DFC in December 1944 at the end of his second tour of a further 23 operations.
He left the RAF in 1948. He worked as a salesman of agricultural foodstuffs in Scotland, and then worked for a seed merchant. His biography, Gunning for the Enemy, was published in 2003.
He married Christina Cooper in 1957. They had one son and three daughters. His wife died in 1989. He died from lung cancer at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Aberdeen. He was survived by his children.
References[edit | edit source]
- Larry Sutherland
- Obituary, The Independent, 15 June 2007
- Obituary, The Times, 15 June 2007
- Obituary, The Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2007
- 207 Squadron Royal Air Force Association
- RAF gunner war hero dies aged 87, BBC, 6 June 2007
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