Service number before becoming an Officer R/138454.
Awarded the Air Navigation Badge on October 23, 1942.
Promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant on January 23, 1944.
Royal Canadian Air Force, 409 Squadron, Navigator.
Had a brother in the Army. John Francis Donoghue H/27898.
Mosquito XIII HK481:
At approximately five o'clock in the morning of January 13, 1945 James and his pilot took off on operations against the enemy. While chasing an enemy bomber one of their engines gave the crew a slight amount of trouble, and they had to abandon the chase and return home. It was while landing at our home airdrome that the aircraft crashed and both boys were killed instantly.
It was a great shock to use all, and their loss will be felt for some time to come, as Ted was one of best Navigators on the Squadron, and together with his pilot made up one of our outstanding crews. His cheerfulness and keeness in the face of difficulties was an inspiration to all of us.
The funeral service was held in the Catholic Church at the village of Lesquin, France, and the service and funeral were attended by practically the whole Squadron and many French civilians. It was a most impressive sight with heaps of flowers and full Military honours. Ted now rest in peace in the cemetery of Lesquin. (Later reburied at Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Belgium).
Moments before the fatal impact the pilot evidently thought he was on the runway and did a normal wheel landing, started to nose over in deep snow and in attempting to correct this, over controlled and aircraft evidently stalled in from 50-100 ft.
Deep snow off the edge of runway and engine trouble contributed greatly as did poor visibility.
MCPHAIL, William Hector Flight Lieutenant (Pilot) J/21326 was also killed during the crash.
Personal details have been collected from official Service Records and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Some of the additional information has been provided by War Diaries, Libera Me (G.E. Spittael), Polder Fighting (R.W. Catsburg), Veterans Affairs Canada, WW2 Talk, Aircrew Remembered and other sources. The commonwealth-adegem.com website is not responsible for incorrect information.
Everything has been collected and processed voluntarily by Michael van de Velde, Netherlands. Along the way I had great support from expert researchers and other volunteers. Thank you!