Flight Lieutenant Leslie Neil McCaig, DFC, was born in Ormstown Station, Québec, on July 4, 1915, to parents Neil and Ethel (née Sangster) McCaig. After receiving his B.A. and Teacher’s Certification at Bishops University, he worked as a school teacher at Stanstead Wesleyan College, Stanstead, and Westmont High School, Montreal, prior to beginning his military service.
He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Montreal on August 16, 1941, earning his Pilot Flying Badge in October of 1942. Once overseas he served with the R.C.A.F. No. 426 (Thunderbird) Squadron. McCaig was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on October 29, 1943, for his actions that September during a night bombing raid over Mannheim, Germany, described in part in The London Gazette as: “Displaying exceptional skill, Flight Lieutenant McCaig flew the badly damaged bomber to this country and effected a successful crashlanding at an airfield. This officer displayed courage, coolness and determination worthy of high praise.”
McCaig was later killed piloting a night mission over Berlin, Germany, on January 20, 1944, in which the entire crew of Lancaster #LL 628 was lost. He was buried in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany, and was honoured after the war in the naming of McCaig Bay, Northwest Territories (present day Nunavut).
The collection’s only letter was written by McCaig to Miss Della Allen of Montreal, in August of 1943.
F/L(P) Leslie McCaig, DFC, service record (Serv/Reg# R120133 and J14907) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring McCaig can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
The awarding of McCaig’s Distinguished Flying Cross in The London Gazette, October 29, 1943 (#36226, p. 4765).
Aircrew flying with McCaig on January 20, 1944:
R.C.A.F. Pilot Officer Ernest Stewart Hawkes, DFC, service record (Serv/Reg# J86265).
R.C.A.F. Pilot Officer Robert James Orr’s service record (Serv/Reg# J19009).
R.C.A.F. Pilot Officer Ronald Duncan Polson’s service record (Serv/Reg# J18921).
R.C.A.F. Pilot Officer Thomas James Preece’s service record (Serv/Reg# J93896).
R.A.F. Pilot Officer Raymond W. Elliot’s (Serv/Reg# 162597) British-held service record is not open to public access at this time.
R.A.F. Pilot Officer Gerald R. Ketcher, DFM, (Serv/Reg# 168963) British-held service record is not open to public access at this time.