MacDonnell, Gordon Warren (Flight Lieutenant, b.1914 - d.1944)


Collection relating to the Second World War service of 101520 Flight Lieutenant Gordon Warren MacDonnell, 603 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Greece, 1940-1946.

Wallet 1 of 2 – Consists of one diary of Flight Lieutenant Gordon Warren MacDonnell, containing entries dated between 19 June 1940 and 9 September 1943. This diary covers the period of Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell’s embarkation, enlistment to the Royal Air Force, pilot training, service as a flying instructor in the United Kingdom, and service with 603 Squadron in the Middle East. In his diary, Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell writes about his embarkation, life on board the ship, sightseeing in England, visiting friends, air raids over London, initial flying training, Christmas celebrations, travelling while on leave, completing an instructors course, instructing cadets at an Elementary Flying Training School, hearing news of the war in the Pacific, converting to twin-engine aircraft, living conditions on Royal Air Force bases, completing exams and flying tests, hearing news of the death of his twin brother, undertaking operational training, completing ferry training, searching for lost aircraft, flying to Egypt via Gibraltar, being posted to 603 Squadron in Misurata, Libya, commencing operational flights, doing reconnaissance work, escorting convoys of Allied ships, participating in anti-shipping patrols, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, and moving to a new base at Sicily, Italy. This diary also contains one bookmark, one poem, and one airgraph letter from Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell’s mother, Mrs Stella MacDonnell, to Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell, dated 29 December 1943.

Wallet 2 of 2 – Contains of two folders of material relating to Flight Lieutenant Gordon Warren MacDonnell.
Folder 1 of 2 consists of one typed transcript of the diary of Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell’s diary.
Folder 2 of 2 consists of 16 letters between members of Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell’s family, representatives of the Royal Air Force, the Australian Red Cross Society, and the clergy of Myteline, Greece. These letters are dated between 17 January 1944 and 12 April 1946, and relate to the circumstances of the death and burial of Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell.

History / Summary

Flight Lieutenant Gordon Warren MacDonnell travelled from Queensland to the United Kingdom in June 1940, to enlist in the Royal Air Force. As he had previous civil aviation experience, he was selected to become a flight instructor. Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell later joined 603 ‘City of Edinburgh’ Squadron, and served with this unit in Egypt, Libya, and Italy. On 16 January 1944, Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell’s plane was shot down near the coast of Turkey. He was presumed to have died shortly thereafter, as his body was washed ashore and buried by locals on the Greek island of Lesbos on 13 February 1944. Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell is now buried at Phaeron War Cemetery, Greece, and commemorated on the Commemorative Roll at the Australian War Memorial. Flight Lieutenant MacDonnell’s twin brother, QX19120 Lieutenant Desmond King MacDonnell, served with 2/31 Australian Infantry Battalion. He died of wounds in Papua on the Kokoda Trail on 14 September 1942.