David Whiteside McConnell DFC

Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell was born in 1920 in Newry, Co. Down. He joined RAF 101 Squadron in 1943 and was awarded the DFC the following year.

Pilot Officer

David Whiteside McConnell

158915

Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell was born in 1920 in Newry, Co. Down. He joined RAF 101 Squadron in 1943 and was awarded the DFC the following year.

Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell DFC (158915) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He flew with RAF 101 Squadron at his time of death.

David Whiteside McConnell

Grave of Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell DFC, RAF 101 Squadron in the 1939-1945 Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany. Photo taken on 24th October 2017.

Born in Bridge Street, Newry, Co. Down in 1920, he was the son of David McConnell and Ruby McConnell. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and joined RAF 101 Squadron at RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire in 1943.

Career with RAF 101 Squadron

Below are the fourteen bombing missions flown by McConnell during his time at RAF Ludford Magna.

Lancaster Bomber from RAF 101 Squadron

Imperial War Museum Photo: CL 1404 (Part of the Air Ministry Second World War Official Collection). Avro Lancaster B I of RAF Squadron releasing a 4,000lb high capacity bomb and 30lb incendiaries over Germany in 1944. The aerials show the plane carries Airborne Cigar (ABC), a jamming device to disrupt enemy communication channels. Photo taken by Royal Air Force official photographer.

3rd November 1943

The crew took off at 1710hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Dusseldorf, Germany. They dropped bombs on the primary target from 22,000 feet at 1952hrs and returned to base at 2145hrs. The weather was good for the raid with no cloud over the target. The crew had good visibility as they aimed at green target indicators and scattered fires across the area. Reports suggest the attack was a success.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Pilot Officer O Fischl.

10th November 1943

The crew took off at 2040hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Modane, France. They returned to base at 0510hrs the following day.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant G Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Warrant Officer FWG Honey.

18th November 1943

The crew took off at 1710hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They returned to base at 0115hrs the following day.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant G Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Warrant Officer FWG Honey.

22nd November 1943

The crew took off at 1700hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They returned to base at 2350hrs.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Sergeant IL Lander.

23rd November 1943

The crew took off at 1700hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They returned to base at 2355hrs.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant G Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Sergeant FWG Lander.

16th December 1943

The crew took off at 1620hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They returned to base at 0005hrs the following day.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant G Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Flying Officer RPM Bagg.

20th December 1943

The crew took off at 0001hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They returned to base at 0735hrs.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant G Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Pilot Officer O Fischl.

20th December 1943

The crew took off at 1720hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Frankfurt, Germany. They returned to base at 2315hrs.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant G Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant RG Brookes, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Pilot Officer HL Croisette.

14th January 1944

The crew took off at 1720hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Brunswick, Germany. Bomb load comprised a single 4,000lb high capacity Cookie bomb, 40 30lb incendiaries, and 930 4lb incendiaries. They dropped bombs on the target from 22,000 feet at 1918hrs and returned to base at 2250hrs. The crew aimed at red flares with green stars.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Flight Sergeant CH Cannon DFM, Sergeant WE Whitfield, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Pilot Officer O Fischl.

21st January 1944

The crew took off at 2010hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Magdeburg, Germany. Bomb load comprised a single 4,000lb high capacity Cookie bomb, 56 30lb incendiaries, and 1150 4lb incendiaries. They dropped bombs on the target from 21,500 feet at 2311hrs and returned to base at 0245hrs the following day. Reports mentioned lots of fires visible across the target.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant J Ormerod, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Sergeant N Westby, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Warrant Officer RW Brown, Pilot Officer O Fischl.

27th January 1944

The crew took off at 1730hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They dropped bombs on the target from 20,500 feet at 2043hrs and returned to base at 0200hrs the following day. The crew aimed at Wanganui flares. Fires below were visible through the clouds.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Flight Sergeant HW Hall, Warrant Officer RW Brown, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Warrant Officer FWG Honey.

29th January 1944

The crew took off at 0010hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They dropped bombs on the target from 20,500 feet at 0318hrs and returned to base at 0805hrs. The crew aimed at Wanganui flares and reported a large explosion in the south-east of the target area at 0319hrs.

Aircrew
Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Flight Sergeant HW Hall, Warrant Officer RW Brown, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Sergeant D Hoffman.

30th January 1944

The crew took off at 1710hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. They returned to base at 2340hrs.

Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell, Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Flight Sergeant HW Hall, Warrant Officer RW Brown, Flight Sergeant L Young DFM, Flying Officer RF Litchfield.

16th February 1944

The crew took off at 0000hrs in Lancaster B III DV236 SV-G for a raid on Berlin, Germany. The plane was on Airborne Cibar (ABC) duties but there were no radio messages sent back to Ludford Magna. A Messerschmitt ME110 night fighter shot down the plane over Berlin. Five of the crew baled out. Those killed in the incident were:

Captain Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell and his two air gunners Warrant Officer RW Brown and Flight Sergeant L Young DFM died onboard DV236. Young had taken part in all thirteen previous missions with McConnell. The pilot from Newry Co. Down was 23 years old.

Sergeant C Thompson, Sergeant D Hall DFM, Flight Sergeant PR Clarke, Flight Sergeant HW Hall, Pilot Officer O Fischl became prisoners of war.

When lost, Lancaster DV236 had over 195 hours of flying time on the clock.

McConnell’s Medal Collection

On 25th November 2015, a collection of four medals awarded to Pilot Officer McConnell sold at auction for £1,800. The award of his Distinguished Flying Cross on 27th September 1943 made the London Gazette on the same day of his untimely death.

Among the collection were:

  • Distinguished Flying Cross in Royal Mint case.
  • 1939-1945 Star.
  • Air Crew Europe Star.
  • War Medal 1939-1945.

The citation for McConnell’s DFC read:

On his first operational sortie as Captain of Aircraft, this officer flew in an aircraft in which the elevator trimmers became jammed. Pilot Officer McConnell was forced to fly with both arms around the control column in order to maintain control. He endeavoured to complete the sortie but had to abandon the effort through exhaustion after two hours. In November 1943, he took part in a sortie on Berlin at very short notice, completing it with courage and skill. His fine example has always been praiseworthy.

Remembering David Whiteside McConnell

Pilot Officer David Whiteside McConnell’s grave is in Section 5, Row C, Plot 6 of the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany. His headstone bears the inscription:

Faithful unto death.

A photo of Pilot Officer McConnell’s Lancaster B I DV236 SV-G appears in the book ‘Lancaster Squadrons 1942-43’ by Jon Lake.

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