Flight Sergeant Douglas Wallace Maclean

Posted on 30 January 2019

Born in the Sydney suburb of Penrith on 27 March 1912, Douglas Maclean was the son of Norman and Lela Maclean. 

Growing up, the young Douglas Maclean attended the local primary school before attending Petersham Intermediate High School. He later attended Sydney Technical College, where he trained as a wool classer. 

A keen sportsman, Maclean played Rugby Union, cricket, tennis, golf and was also a keen surfer.

After finishing high school in 1929, Maclean was employed as a clerk at Dalgety and Company in Sydney. He worked in this job for 12 years. He also served for two years in the 9th Field Brigade of the Militia.

On 2 August, Douglas Maclean married Jessie Violet Duncan in Sydney. Shortly afterwards, on 11 October, he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force. 

He began training as a pilot. After initial training in Australia he embarked in Melbourne on 22 May 1942 for overseas service: first to Canada, where he spent five months training, and then to Britain.

As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who, throughout the course of the war, joined Royal Air Force squadrons or Australian squadrons based in Britain.

After his arrival in Britain, on 5 November 1942, Maclean undertook further specialist training before, on 14 July 1944, being posted to No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Part of RAF Bomber Command, No. 12 Squadron was equipped with four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.

On the night of 23 October, the Lancaster in which Maclean was the pilot was taking part in a bombing raid on Essen, Germany. The aircraft was shot down and crashed near the border between Germany and the Netherlands.

Maclean and all six of his crewmates were killed. Their bodies were recovered from the crash site and buried side by side in the Winterswijk Cemetery in the Netherlands.

Douglas Maclean had been with his squadron for just three months. He was 32 years old.