Sea King

Hugh McLachlan


McLACHLAN, F/L Hugh (J8408) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.94 Squadron – Award effective 31 October 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1/45 dated 5 January 1945. Born 19 September 1922 in Greenock, Renfrewshire (see Canadian Who’s Who); educated at Coalhurst, Alberta; home in Aden, Alberta. Enlisted 12 February 1941 when posted to No.2 Manning Depot, Brandon. To No.10 Repair Depot, 16 March 1941 (guard). To No.2 ITS, Regina, 4 May 1941. To No.16 EFTS, Edmonton, 9 June 1941. To No.10 SFTS, Dauphin, 7 August 1941; graduated 24 October 1941 and commissioned. Attended No.59 OTU, Carlisle, 8 December 1941 to 17 February 1942. Attended No.1 Middle East Training School, 24 April to 5 May 1942. Served in No.80 (Fighter) Squadron, 21 May 1942 to 2 July 1943; promoted Flying Officer, 24 October 1942 and Flight Lieutenant, 31 March 1943. Instructor, No.1 Middle East Gunnery School, 11 July to 7 August 1943. Gunnery instructor, No.71 OTU, Ismailia 8 August 1943 to 1 January 1944. Served in No.94 Squadron, Africa and Greece, 19 January to 1 December 1944. Reported Missing, 19 October 1944; reported safe, 28 October 1944. Repatriated and discharged. 18 April 1945. With No.80 Squadron he destroyed one enemy aircraft and flew 130 sorties. As flight commander in No.94 Squadron, he assumed command of that unit on 31 October 1944 when S/L R.G. Foskett was killed. Left RCAF in April 1945, rejoining 14 November 1946 (23522) in rank of Flight Lieutenant. Attended No.1 Composite Training School, Toronto, 24 March to 17 May 1947. To Northwest Air Command Headquarters, Edmonton, 21 May 1947. To Camp Borden, 3 January 1948. To Instrument Flying School. Centralia, 27 July 1948. To Air Armament School, Trenton, 10 October 1948. To Air Defence Group Headquarters, 31 October 1950 (Staff Officer Weapons). Promoted to Squadron Leader, 1 January 1951. To RCAF Staff College, 8 May 1953. To AFHQ/VCAS/CARM, 26 June 1954. To No.3 AFS, Gimli, 14 February 1958. To No.1 (Fighter) OTU, Bagotville, 27 April 1958. To No.1 (Fighter) Wing, 8 October 1958 and posted to No.441 Squadron. . Promoted Wing Commander, 1 January 1961. To Air Force College, 25 July 1961 for Directing Staff. To CFHQ, 27 July 1964. Promoted Group Captain, 23 August 1965; Brigadier General 1 August 1968, Major-General, 14 June 1971 (on being made AOC Transport Command), Lieutenant-General July 1976; retired 17 June 1977. Made CMM, May 1977. Retired as Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. Executive for Rolls Royce, living in Ottawa, 1977-1991. Died in Ottawa, 6 May 1998. Chris Shores, Those Other Eagles (Grub Street, London, 2004) provides a victory list as follows: 13 July 1942: one Bf.109 damaged southwest of El Alamein (No.80 Squadron, Hurricane IIc, BN126, coded QJ-P); 3 November 1942, one Junkers 87 destroyed, and one probably destroyed, El Alamein (No.80 Squadron, Hurricane IIc, HL632, coded QJ-O); 31 May 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed, Crete (No.94 Squadron, Spitfire IX, MH698); 8 July 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed, Maleme, Crete (No.94 Squadron, Spitfire IX, MH698). // Flight Lieutenant McLachlan has proved himself to be an able and daring flight commander and has completed successfully a very large number of sorties. He has led the squadron on bomber escort duties over Crete on many occasions and has displayed ability and courage of a high degree. He has shot down three enemy aircraft. // NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/9160 has recommendation drafted 12 August 1944. He was then “B” Flight Commander. // This officer has shown consistent and determined courage and devotion to duty in action against the enemy. He is an able and a daring leader, and has on many occasions led the squadron on operations. // Flight Lieutenant McLachlan is now on his second tour and has completed over 180 sorties, totalling some 260 operational hours. As Flight Commander he has over the last seven months trained to a high degree of efficiency a flight entirely staffed by Yugo-Slav pilots – their efficiency being due sole to his untiring devotion and unsparing efforts. // Recently he has led or been deputy leader of some 25 squadron sorties over Crete from Tobruk. This has entailed very considerable strain and fatigue due to the exceptionally long sea crossings involved (some 550 miles) in single engine aircraft. These sorties are usually bomber escorts calling for a high degree of skill and leadership, which he has shown to possess to a marked degree. // He has personally destroyed two Messerschmitt 109s while engaged on these operations at the extreme range of his aircraft some 250 miles from base, making his total of three aircraft destroyed. // Notes: On 18 July 1944 Lieutenant-Colonel M.V. Misovic of the Inspectorate, Royal Yugoslav Air Force (Middle East) wrote to him, forwarding the Yugoslav Pilots Badge. “For many months now you have flown side by side with our pilots in the determined battle against the common enemy, always ready and prepared to assist and help whenever you could.” In January 1947 he applied for permission to wear these wings. However, the current Communist government was unwilling to consent to a “royalist” award, claiming there was no record of the recommendation and that “there is nothing left of the Archives of the former Royal Yugoslav Air Force.” // A summary of his flying as of 26 May 1951 lists the following types – Tiger Moth (52 hours 20 minutes), Magister (7.25). Harvard (326.55), Master (4.25), Hurricane (451.00), Spitfire (344.05), Mustang (10.45), Vampire (47.05), Expeditor (90.45), Mitchell (136.20), Ventura (60.55), Lancaster (37.05) and Dakota (18.20). // Training: Attended No.2 ITS, 4 May to 4 June 1941. Courses in Mathematics (89/100). Armament, practical and oral (73/100), Signals (98/100), Sanitation and Hygiene (28/40), Law and Discipline (53/60) and Drill (77/100). Placed 58th in a class of 295. “Direct from school. Youthful, inexperienced. Appears quiet but alert. Stolid. May lack self assurance due to youth. Good spirit. Average activity in sports including team sports. Father served last war.” // Attended No.16 EFTS, 9 June to 27 July 1941. Tiger Moth aircraft – 27 hours five minutes dual, 27.10 solo plus 5.05 on instruments. Logged ten hours in Link. “Overcrowds field in forced landings.” Ground courses in Airmanship (178/200), Airframes (68/100), Engines (90/100), Signals, practical (94/100), Theory of Flight (55/100), Air Navigation (176/200) and Armament, oral (130/200). Rated 128/200 in Qualities as an Officer. Placed 14th in a class of 33. “High average ability. Good conduct and neat appearance. Is careful and hard working.” // Attended No.10 SFTS, 8 August to 24 October 1941. Harvard aircraft – 46.45 day dual, 34.55 day solo, 5.00 night dual, 5.25 night solo. Was 17 hours on instruments. Logged 20 hours in Link. “Good average pilot. No outstanding faults.” Ground courses in Airmanship and Maintenance (169/200), Armament, written (84/100), Armament, practical (79/100), Navigation and Meteorology (161/200), Signals, written (97/100) and Signals, practical (42/50). Placed 14th in a class of 59. Recommended for fighters. // Selected Assessments: “This officer borders on the exceptional and on any occasion when I have to leave the unit I have no hesitation in leaving him in command. He has the necessary qualities to have been recommended by me for early promotion to Squadron Leader rank. He is a young man with a full sense of his responsibilities as an officer and should go far in his service career.” (S/L R.G. Fossett, No.94 Squadron, 6 June 1944; McLachlan had to date flown 751 hours 15 minutes) 166.15 in last six months,) To this is added, “The high morale and excellent fighting spirit of the squadron owe much to this officer’s ability.” (Air Commodore N.S. Allinson, No.212 Group). // “He has a much broader knowledge of technical armament than should be normally expected of a General List officer. His ability to organize and complete tasks seems high when his imagination has been captured, but his performance in this respect is not consistent. In employment where he can deal with problems at first hand, such as a flight or squadron commander, he might well exhibit a very high standard of ability. His social, domestic and financial conduct is in all respects good,” (W/C R.D.H. Ellis, 1 August 1953, commenting on performance as Air Defence Command Weapons Officer). // “W/C McLachlan has performed very effectively as an IDF Squadron Commander. For a good period of time he largely carried his squadron single-handed because of a shortage of experienced supervisory aircrew on his squadron. He is conscientious to an exceptional degree and as a result of this his approach to his work is direct and purposeful. W/C McLachlan is highly service-minded and takes a genuine interest in the welfare of his subordinates, of whom he expects, and in so far as possible obtains, the same high standards which he demands of himself.” (G/C D.P. Hall, No.1 Wing,, 7 July 1961, on posting from No.441 Squadron).