Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
Mac enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Hamilton, Ontario at the age of 18. Following a year of training, he became a Navigator Bombardier and was posted overseas. After further training, he was posted with 101 Squadron in Lincolnshire, England.
Responsible for pinpointing enemy targets on bombing runs over Germany, Mac flew 33 successful sorties in a Lancaster aircraft. He was often in harm's way and feared the worst, as anti-aircraft fire and shells were firing at his aircraft.
"I was up in the front of the plane, right in the clear capsule, so I could see and feel everything along with sheer panic," says Mac. "I was a lucky one all right."
It was a miracle that no one in his plane, a special duty squadron was killed. The eight man crew (five English and three Canadians) included a German-speaking wireless operator, who intercepted and interfered with voice commands from ground units who were directing the enemy crews. The normal bombing crews had a seven-man crew.
Unfortunately, many of the Lancaster's in his squadron did not make it back. Out of 30 in his original squadron, 45 were shot down in just six months. New planes and crew where being added every day.
"I don't think any of us ever imagined it was going to be like it was," said Mac.
After the war, Mac returned to civilian life and eventually became President of Décor Metal Products, a division of Firestone Canada. At the time, they were the largest manufacturer of automotive safety seatbelts in Canada.
Good times and leisure now fill his days at the Veterans Centre. Mac has no complaints. Keeping physically and mentally active are key to his wellness. Now days though, he prefers to travel by bus rather than air, taking part in community and out of town bus trips. A highlight was when he visited the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton.
Family was and still is very much his priority. His son, two daughters, and two grandsons visit him at the Veterans Centre and take him home for family gatherings often.
For Mac, the war memories remain and are also meticulously tracked in his flight log book. The dates, hours, aircraft names, pilots, and places such as Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Berlin are noted in pen; along with "191 lost" in February 1944 noted and tracked in pencil.