|LAC. Wallace Jackson in North Africa and Italy with 70 Squadron, RAF, 1941-1944|
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Sgt John Patrick McGarry CGM 1344057
Contributed by his nephew, Tim McGarry
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Sergeant John Patrick McGarry, 1344057, Royal Air Force (V.R.), 70 Squadron, died 3rd July 1943, aged 22 years.
He was the son of Francis J. and Lily McGarry, of Southampton and is commemorated on the war memorial of his school, Taunton's College (1933-37) and the British Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial, Malta.
One night in April, 1943, this airman was the navigator of an aircraft detailed to attack an enemy landing ground. During the operation the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The pilot was severely wounded, while Sergeant McGarry was wounded in the leg.
Despite his injury, this airman helped to remove the wounded pilot from the cockpit and afterwards rendered efficient first aid. Meanwhile, another member of the crew took over the control and Sergeant McGarry, displaying great fortitude, continued his navigational duties. In addition, throughout the return flight, he tended his injured pilot.
When base was reached the pilot took over the controls to attempt a landing. Sergeant McGarry was given permission to leave by parachute but elected to stay with his pilot and a successful crash-landing was made near the airfield. In perilous circumstances, Sergeant McGarry displayed courage, fortitude and coolness worthy of the highest praise.
(London Gazette – 4 June 1943)
C.G.M. Citation : Sergeant Thomas Petrie, pilot of Wellington HF753 DU-O
Contributed by his son, Duncan Petrie
1070296 Sergeant Thomas Parker PETRIE, No. 70 Squadron.
One night in April, 1943, this airman was the pilot and captain of an aircraft detailed to attack an enemy landing ground. In the run up the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire but Sergeant Petrie held course and a stick of bombs was released.
Almost immediately the aircraft was again hit which caused it to dive steeply. Sergeant Petrie was severely wounded, his foot being practically severed, while other members of the crew were slightly wounded. Despite his injuries, Sergeant Petrie skilfully regained control of his aircraft, circled and released the remaining bombs over the target area. Course having been set for home, the injured pilot was removed from his seat and given first aid, while another member of the crew kept the aircraft on its course to base.
When the airfield was reached, Sergeant Petrie who, throughout the return flight, though in considerable pain and faint through loss of blood had remained in command as captain, gave the crew permission to leave by parachute. They elected to remain, however, confident in his ability to effect a landing. By strapping him in the pilot's seat and tying his uninjured foot to the rudder bar, Sergeant Petrie was able to take over the controls. When approaching land, at a height of 300 feet, the petrol supply ran out but a successful crash-landing was made. This gallant airman displayed great courage and fortitude in keeping with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force.