Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Donald Burton McPhail

In memory of
Warrant Officer Class II
Donald Burton McPhail
December 7, 1942

Military Service:

Service Number:
R/67887
Age:
25
Force:
Air Force
Unit:
Royal Canadian Air Force
Division:
263 Squadron, serving with RAF Squadron

Additional Information:

Born:
August 20, 1917

Son of Albert Harold and Florence Louise McPhail, of Windsor, Ontario. Warrant Officer McPhail was killed when his Whirlwind aircraft dived into the sea off the south-west coast of Jersey Island during an enemy air attack. A memorial will be placed on a headland called Noirmont Point in Jersey Island on September 13, 2002. It will be in the form of a plaque which will be placed on the side of a former German Bunker over looking the exact spot where W/O McPhail and his Commanding Officer Sqn Ldr Robert Woodward were lost on December 7th, 1942. The project is being funded by kind donations from the local branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), the Channel Island Occupation Society (CIOS) and various local individuals. Mr. Ian Le Sueur represents the Jersey Aviation Historical Society (JAHS) and is the champion of this commemoration.

Commemorated on Page 98 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information:

Cemetery:
RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL ; Surrey, United Kingdom
Grave Reference:
Panel 101
Location:
During the Second World War more than 116,000 men and women of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth gave their lives in service. More than 17,000 of these were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, or Canadians serving with the Royal Air Force. Approximately one-third of all who died have no known grave. Of these, 20,450 are commemorated by name on the Runnymede Memorial, which is situated at Englefield Green, near Egham, 32 kilometres by road west of London. The design of the Runnymede Memorial is original and striking. On the crest of Cooper's Hill, overlooking the Thames, a square tower dominates a cloister, in the centre of which rests the Stone of Remembrance. The cloistered walks terminate in two lookouts, one facing towards Windsor, and the other towards London Airport at Heathrow. The names of the dead are inscribed on the stone reveals of the narrow windows in the cloisters and the lookouts. They include those of 3,050 Canadian airmen. Above the three-arched entrance to the cloister is a great stone eagle with the Royal Air Force motto, Per Ardua ad Astra". On each side is the inscription:
IN THIS CLOISTER ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF TWENTY THOUSAND AIRMEN WHO HAVE NO KNOWN GRAVE. THEY DIED FOR FREEDOM IN RAID AND SORTIE OVER THE BRITISH ISLES AND THE LANDS AND SEAS OF NORTHERN AND WESTERN EUROPE In the tower a vaulted shrine, which provides a quiet place for contemplation, contains illuminated verses by Paul H. Scott."

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of Donald Burton McPhail – Warrant Officer Donald McPhail sitting in the cockpit of a 263 Squadron RAF Westland Whirlwind Fighter Aircraft.  Donald was lost in such an aircraft 6 miles to the south of the Jersey Channel Islands on December 7, 1942.
  • Photo of Donald McPhail – McPhail, Donald Burton - Warrant Officer. Born 20th August, 1917, at Windsor, Ont. Educated at Dougall Avenue School and Hon. W. C. Kennedy Collegiate Institute, Windsor. Entered the service of the Bank 18th November, 1936. Served at Windsor city branches. Enlisted 26th October, 1940, from Windsor branch in R.C.A.F.  Sergeant Pilot in September, 1941; Flight Sergeant in June, 1942; Warrant Officer in August, 1942. Trained at Toronto, Windsor and Camp Borden, Ont. Overseas in September, 1941. Attached R.A.F. Served with 137 and 263 Squadrons. Engaged in convoy duties, later in bombing operations.  Reported 7th December, 1942 missing and believed killed during air operations when his aircraft failed to return after a daylight bombing raid over Germany. Officially presumed dead 5th October, 1943. From a memorial booklet prepared by the Canadian Bank of Commerce.
  • Photo of Donald Burton McPhail – Seen March/April 1942 at RAF Matlaske with 137 Squadron
  • Newspaper clipping – From the Windsor Daily Star. Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me

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