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McPherson, Andrew

Date of birth:
1918 (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date of death:
May 12th, 1940
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Cemetery Heverlee
Plot: 6. Row: F. Grave: 17-19.
Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


Andrew McPherson, a Glasgow Academy graduate, was pilot of the first aircraft to cross the German coast after Britain had declared war on Germany. His mission on 3 September 1939 was to look for potential targets in North Germany and the German fleet on the Schillig Roads near the port of Wilhelmshaven. Amongst the ships he and his crew observed were the battleship Admiral Scheer and the cruiser Emden.
Their sightings were reported upon their return to base as the aircraft wireless transmissions failed. An air raid was then ordered on the ships by 15 Blenheims from No. 107 Squadron, No. 110 Squadron, and No. 139 Squadron RAF. The weather conditions were very bad when they set off on their bombing mission the next morning, many bombs did not detonate or simply bounced off the armoured decks and 4 aircraft from 107 Squadron were shot down, with two survivors becoming the first Bomber Command airman to be taken prisoner in World War II. An aircraft from No. 110 Squadron was also shot down and crashed into the bow of the cruiser Emden (curiously the pilot killed in the crash was also named Emden).
For his role in the action Flying Officer McPherson was presented with one of the first two DFCs of the war by King George VI. The other one was presented to Flying Officer Kenneth Doran.
On May 12th, 1940 McPherson was killed when his Blenheim was shot down by German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters whilst on a mission to bomb armoured columns in Belgium
Andrew McPherson is remembered on the the WW2 Memorial, located on the first floor of the main building of the Glasgow Academy.

October 19th, 1936: Acting Pilot Officer (probation/short service commission)
Augustus 24th, 1937: Pilot Oficer
? Flying Officer

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Flying Officer
Awarded on:
October 10th, 1939
"This officer carried out reconnaissance flights early in September, 1939. On one occasion he was forced by extremely bad weather conditions to fly close to the enemy coast at very low altitudes. These flights made possible a successful raid on enemy naval forces."

The investiture took place on either Wednesday November 1st, or Thursday November 2nd 1939
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)