Cecil Hill Macaulay

Sergeant Cecil Hill Macaulay died on 1st September 1943. He served with the Royal Air Force and also saw action at Dunkirk with the Royal Artillery.

Sergeant Cecil Hill Macaulay (656568) served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. Born on 11th May 1916, he was a twin son of the late Captain Robert Macaulay and Margaret Jane Macaulay (née Matier) of Thornhill, Islandmagee, Co. Antrim. Robert Macaulay died at sea on 5th January 1918 when his ship came under torpedo attack. Effects of Cecil's will went to his twin brother James Macaulay, a solicitor in Larne, Co. Antrim.

As a young man, Cecil attended Coleraine Academical Institution and later became an articled accountant in Belfast, Co. Antrim. He was a keen rugby player at schoolboy level and also for Larne Rugby Club. He was also a member of Larne Sailing Club and enjoyed sailing wherever he was in the world. Cecil was also a member of St. John’s Masonic Lodge No. 162 of Islandmagee, Co. Antrim.

After the outbreak of World War Two, he enlisted in a Searchlight Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He served as a despatch rider during the Dunkirk evacuation in June 1940. After Dunkirk, he transferred to the Royal Air Force and undertook training in Canada.

Death in Germany

Cecil died on 1st September 1943 aged 27 years old. He was an Air Bomber with RAF 158 Squadron on board Handley Page Halifax HR738 NP-Z. The plane – nicknamed Zombie’s Zephyr was on a night-time raid over Berlin. The crew took off from RAF Lissett, Yorkshire on 31st August 1943.

This was one of the first times, the Luftwaffe used fighter flare to mark the flight path of the main Allied force. This, along with cloud cover, poor equipment, and a well-defended city meant the raid was not a success. Of 622 planes taking part in the raid, 47 failed to return. On the ground in Berlin, 68 people died with 85 homes destroyed.

On the return leg, Macaulay’s plane went down over Dumberg, east-north-east of Paderborn, Germany. Oberleutnant Werner Baake 3/NJG 1 flying from Venlo Aerodrome in the Netherlands claimed the victory.

Remembering the crew of Halifax HR738

Last NameFirst Name(s)RankRoleInformation
DavisJackSergeantAir GunnerRAFVR 1352674. Killed aged 22 years old.
KellyBrian ArthurFlight SergeantAir GunnerRAAF 425314. Killed aged 20 years old.
KiddWilliamSergeantPilotRAFVR 1096827. Killed aged 21 years old.
MaxwellJames FrancisSergeantNavigatorRAFVR 1432779. Killed aged 19 years old.
MacaulayCecil HillSergeantAir BomberRAF 656568. Killed aged 27 years old.
PriceRJHSergeantFlight EngineerRAAF. Survived. POW.
StevensonRSergeantRAAF. Survived. POW.

Soldiers manning a German flak battery found the injured survivor Flight Engineer Sergeant RJH Price 2 days after the crash.

Cecil Hill Macaulay’s grave is in Section 16, Row D, Grave 15 of Hanover War Cemetery, Hanover, Niedersachsen, Germany. His headstone bears the inscription:

Till the day break.