Should this airman have his bar to the AFC listed on his memorial?

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by spidge, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    The CWGC does not list list this Airman's Bar to his AFC - Should they and should it be on his memorial?

    Also there is a mention of "OC" would that be Officer Commanding?

    June 15th 1939
    Air Force Cross
    Fl Lt John William McGuire

    Honours and Awards:
    John William McGuire

    Service Number: 34211

    Rank: Wing Commander

    Service: Royal Air Force

    Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

    Award: Bar to Air Force Cross

    Date of London Gazette: 11 June 1942

    Location in London Gazette: Page 2515, position 1

    McGuire _J W AFC and Bar Southampton Crem.jpg McGuire_JW Medals.jpg

  2. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    I don't think that it is normal practice to list bars on memorials.
  3. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    I've found two headstones with an award and bars inscribed and at a couple on the Malta Memorial with DFC and bar inscribed.

    Another well known one in Durnbach War Cemetery

  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    There are many headstones and memorials that have their bars listed in both world wars however they are for "in action".

    The AFC is awarded for service/heroism "not in action" against the enemy.

    Seems odd that there would be a differentiation.


  5. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Could it be something to do with the Bar awarded posthumously?

    I.e. the awards listed were those current at time of death?
  6. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    My impression is that all awards should be displayed on the CWGC entry / headstone, and as has been seen there is precedent looking at the headstone in post #3

    As for "awarded posthumously" - in my opinion there is no such thing (except for VC & MiD) - he was awarded the Bar to his AFC prior to his death, it just happened to have been promulgated afterwards (as can be seen from the LG page).

    Attached Files:

    • McG.jpg
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  7. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Yes, I agree, this seems rather confusing.

    From Post #1:

    DATE: March 24, 1942
    TAKE-OFF POINT: Boscombe Down, Wilts
    CRASH LOCATION: Lytchett Minster, Dorset
    AIRCRAFT TYPE & SERIAL: Consolidated Liberator Mk II AL546
    CREW FATALITIES: Wg Cdr J.M. McGuire AFC, OC Performance Test Squadron A&AEE (Wg Cdr McGuire was later awarded a posthumous Bar to his AFC)
    (my edit)

    I also am not aware that anything other than VC and MiD could be awarded posthumously.

    Perhaps an error in the records somewhere?
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Thank you all!

    Seems fairly straight forward from this end, So I will send a query to CWGC.

    Another question;

    How can I find out the names of the crew who abandoned the aircraft to complete my file on this loss.


  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    The Aviation Safety Network doesn't have any further info

    The Liberator was being flown on a series of climb tests when the starboard outer engine over-speeded and caught fire. Wing Commander J.M. MGuire AFC, OC of the Performance Testing Squadron of the A&AEE, ordered his crew to abandon the aircraft which they did successfully. However the Liberator broke up before Wg Cdr McGuire could escape and he was killed.
  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Liberator AL546 took-off from Boscombe Down at 1448 hours on the 24th March, 1942. This was a Mark II aircraft with slightly over 47 hours on the airframe and its duty was detailed as experimental non-operational flying training with the A. and A.E.E. At the controls as 1st. Pilot was Wing Commander J.W. McGuire, AFC. His hours on Liberators totalled 32 and on all types an impressive 1,760 hours. His 2nd Pilot was Warrant Officer F.J. Robinson, this was to be his first flight on this type. The 1st Engineer was Corporal R.M. Leach and 2nd Engineer Aircraftsman 1st Class B.G. Hibbs. Also on board, as civilian technical observer, was Mr. J. J. Unwin of the Scientific Office of the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

    After nearly two hours of flight, the aircraft was in the vicinity of Poole at 5,000 feet. The aircraft had been engaged on partial climbs at an all up weight of 50,000lbs. The flight so far had been troublesome, as electrical problems had been encountered from the outset of the flight. With these problems apparently overcome the crew noticed that the starboard outer engine nacelle was on fire. A sudden change in lateral trim was felt and McGuire immediately ordered "Abandon aircraft". Ground observers stated that the fire was seen many minutes before anyone left the aircraft.

    One of these ground observers was Mr. J. Soffe. He recalls seeing the aircraft flying a straight course N.W. from Poole on a bright, sunny afternoon with black smoke pouring back from an engine. As he watched, part of the wing broke away and spun down, the aircraft then immediately went into a very fast spin. Simultaneously, he saw the parachutes of the crew members that had baled open out. This was quickly followed by a huge cloud of black smoke going up as AL546 hit the ground. The whole scene was made more unreal for him as he heard the whine of the plane going down and the crash of the aircraft hitting after the cloud of smoke went up.
    What had actually happened was that the engine fire had weakened the wing structure and this had caused the wing outboard of the starboard outer to break away. The starboard outer, RAF no. 8670, makers no. 204903, with 64 hours running time and seven months after installation, then broke away from the airframe. The 14 cylinder Pratt and Whitney Twin Wasp radial plummeted into the ground near the Beacon Hill anti-aircraft site at Upton.
    Three of the crew and the civilian technical observer managed to parachute to safety out of the open bomb bay. W/O Robinson was injured in a bad landing and AC1 Hibbs landed upside down in a tall tree. All four came down around South Lytchett Manor. Unfortunately, McGuire was unable to get out. He had held the aircraft steady against the changes in lateral trim whilst his crew had baled, but as soon as they were clear had become trapped by the vicious earthwards spin.
    At 1650 hours, 2 hours and 2 minutes after take-off, Liberator AL546 crashed at Race Farm, behind Mr. Abbot’s farmhouse, killing McGuire instantly.

    There were almost 1,500 gallons of aviation fuel left on board and this erupted into a terrific fire. Burning fuel cascaded onto the roof of the nearby farmhouse and set that on fire also. Pieces of twisted Duralumin sheet, many stamped "Alclad" were scattered across the Huntick road and around the massive crater.

    The Accident Investigation Branch of the RAF investigated the crash and spent several weeks at the crash site. Arc lights were set up around the crater and the recovery operation and search for the engines continued into the hours of darkness each night.

    Although the four that baled were extremely lucky to escape when they did, their luck did not hold. Mr. J. Unwin was killed when Halifax W7917 crashed at Sutton Scotney on the 4th February, 1943; again he was acting as technical observer. Warrant Officer Robinson was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and was killed in a mid-air collision along with R.M. Leach on the 10th September, 1943. The Lancaster he was piloting, JA894, was in collision with Oxford EB987 near High Post airfield. Only the 2nd Engineer survived the war and, indeed, Mr. Hibbs now lives in Dorset.

    Today it is difficult to see where AL546 crashed as the RAF were fairly efficient in their recovery operation; also the area has been planted over with pine trees and this has softened the contours of the crater. But some relics were missed and I have a twisted propeller blade, an engine valve and a plate stating "Curtiss Electric Propellers" from this aircraft.

    Small testament to the sacrifice of McGuire.
  11. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Fantastic Dave - Thank you.

    Should allow me to write his bio with this amount of factual evidence.

    Some further research has shown him to be a very determined and brave individual.

    I would also say that the Bar to his 1939 AFC was due to his work in England after the declaration of war and this:
    He also had a sense of humour:

  12. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Also found this in the State Library of Victoria however instead of Suzanne it is labelled Mrs N. McGuire?

    McGuire_Wife_AFC Bar BuckPal 1943.jpg

    Decorated at Buckingham Palace investiture [picture]

    [ca. 1943]
    Available online.

  13. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    I have forwarded these details to the CWGC and await their response.


  14. Marks

    Marks Senior Member

    This year I contacted CWGC about the missing bar to the D.F.C of W/C Mark H BROWN KIA 12/11/1941, I also told them about the award of his Czech Military Cross. They were happy to list the Military Cross, but I beleive the bar has caused more problems for them and is still not listed. I believe they have to alter the headstone.

  15. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    I have received a positive response to this query/request from CWGC.


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  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    excellent work Geoff well done

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  17. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Great news here from the CWGC after a prompt I had forgot to do!
    Dear Mr Swallow,
    Thank you for your email

    I can confirm that the inscription of Wing Commander John William McGuire in Southampton Old Crematorium has now been corrected to include his awards in full, this being A F C and Bar. This is shown in the photograph attached.

    Thank you again for bringing this issue to our attention.

    Yours sincerely,
    Paul Davis
    CWGC Enquiries section
    McGuire _J W AFC and Bar NEW.JPG
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  18. Marks

    Marks Senior Member

    Further to the subject of bars to awards and their listing by the CWGC, I list below the following holders of the DFC who are currently in the process of having the Bar to the D.F.C listed by the CWGC :-

    37904 W/C M.H BROWN DFC KIA 12.11.1941
    123201 F/L R.A MILLER DFC KIA 27.4.1945
    39330 S/L N. ORTON DFC KIA 17.9.1941 54 SQN
    120392 F/L F.D.J THOMPSON DFC KIA 12.3.1943 7 SQN
    37776 W/C P.F WEBSTER DSO, DFC DIED 1.3.1944
    37645 S/L J. H WEDGWOOD DFC KIA 17.12.1942
    39918 W/C R.J WELLS DFC DIED 13.3.1942
    80424 F/L E.L WILLIAMS DFC KIA 14.2.1945
    89058 S/L J.E WILLSON DFC KIA 27.8.1943 153 SQN

    + 45546 S/L E.A DEVERILL DFC, AFC, DFM 17.12.1943 97 SQN - Augsburg raider

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  19. Marks

    Marks Senior Member

    Recent D.F.C additions to the CWGC database (RAF) :-

    161594 F/L A. DRINKALL DFC KIA 6.8.1944 83 SQN
    32201 W/C I.J McGHIE DFC KIA 18.8.1943 619 SQN
    102299 F/O F.J PILE DFC KIA 15.1.1943 47 SQN
    44779 S/L W.M PROTHEROE DFC KIA 13.4.1942 158 SQN
    158717 P/O L. STEVENSON DFC KIA 23.9.1943 97 SQN
    116418 F/L W.M THEOBALD DFC KIA 12.6.1943 78 SQN
    37436 F/L J.T WEBSTER DFC KIA 5.9.1940 41 SQN
    40276 F/O A.T WILLIAMS DFC KIA 9.6.1940 263 SQN
    145900 F/L D.A.C WILKINSON DFC BEM KIA 3.10.1943 61 SQN
    67642 F/O T.R.R WOOD DFC KIA 3.6.1942 115 SQN


    90240 S/L W.B BEALE AFC AAF KIFA 4.9.1941
    34069 S/L R.R GREGORY AFC KIFA 7.9.1945
    34109 S/L D.C OLIVER AFC KOAS 13.8.1940 53 SQN
    364156 W/O D.J PITCHER AFC KIA 3.7.1941 127 SQN


    1393818 F/S H.A DE FREITAS AFM KIFA 5.5.1943 59 OTU
    942217 CPL C.F HAND AFM (1921) KIFA 6.7.1943 16 OTU


    127799 F/O D.J PRYTHERCH DFM KIA18.6.1943 72 SQN
    1474213 SGT C.L SPINK DFM KIA 22.10.1943 103 SQN
    615619 SGT A.E WALKER DFM KIA 2.9.1940 144 SQN


    45096 P/O F.W HOLDEN BEM KIA 18.4.1941 61 SQN

    +M.C (WW1)

    86533 F/L W.H NICHOLSON MC DIED 15.2.1943 Harwell


    +George Medal

    Reginald George MORGAN GM Executed 15.10.1942 Gilbert Islands

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  20. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Whilst we're on the subject, the CWGC have a "Drop Down" feature for Honours and Awards which is a pre prepared List, and does not have any "and Bar" option. Entering "and Bar" into the Additional Information field throws up 407 which tend to be addresses, such as Perry Bar etc.

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