Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Flying Officer James McQuaid DFC


From our good friend Al McQ. His Shell XS is in Sideburn 1.

'Hello Guys!
Although this Velocette KSS isn't a flattracker, I know you're interested in shots of people looking cool on bikes so how about this?
It's my Dad - Flying Officer James McQuaid DFC. WW2 has just ended and here he is in his demob' suit & coat, RAF issue goggles and gauntlets. The bike is fuelled on unrationed methanol and running on castor oil.
Check out the haircut and moody guy expression, pre Elvis and Dean. Undaunted by the lack of helmet and minimal front brake, he's just 23 but looks older - here's why...
Quite realistically he didn't expect to see 21. His odds of survival were less than 1 in 3 and he knew it. During his time on 100 Sqn, 25 aircraft and crews went missing, representing a full turnover of the Squadron strength. Of his comrades in Bomber Command, 55,573 died, of which 41,458 have no known grave; many simply logged as "missing - no news after take-off." During the period following D-day, Bomber Command was losing more airmen than the army was infantry in Normandy. They lost more aircrew in one night over Nuremburg than fighter Command did in the whole of the battle of Britain. They made up only 2% of Britain's armed effort but over 14.5% of War dead. Of any combatant force, only the German U-Boat fleet suffered a higher percentage loss rate -although the actual number killed was very much smaller.
So here's to you Dad and all the others, God rest your souls - and I wish I had that Velo'...
Cheers! A
BTW - Revell have recently released an Avro Lancaster kit featuring "his" aircraft markings.

6 comments:

McQmoto said...

Thanks for blogging this. Actually I've realised he was just 22 in the photo, not 23. But if you click and enlarge and look at his face you'd put him 10 years older - the real cost of looking cool!

Paul said...

Very cool dood.
Interesting bit about the bomber crews. I had a great Uncle that was bomber crew too during/after D-Day - he also survived. He never said a word to anyone (even his wife) about the experience when he returned.

64kym said...

Thanks for sharing, we should never forget the bravery and sacrifice of this generation

BlackCountryBiker said...

I got every respect for the men and women who saw action in WW2. Although my grandfather never fought he was on board a hospital ship so saw things that many of us could never imagine. He actually lost a lung when his ship was divebombed at Dunkirk but still smoked his Old Holborn till the day he died and cried whenever he talked about the war. Thanks for sharing that photo of your Dad Alistair.

Anonymous said...

I had the honour and privilege of being taught by Jim between 1973 and 1976 at Dudley College of Education...Great bloke...and hid his heroism in WW2...sadly missed often thought about.

McQmoto said...

Many thanks for your comment Anon - I'll share it with the rest of the Family who will be touched to know he was appreciated and is remembered by you. He's very much missed by all of us...