Wish granted as Thomas finally gets to reach for sky

Thomas Macdonald, 90, of Ancrum, wearing a Second World War pilot's jacket supplied by Aero Leather Clothing in Galashiels.
Thomas Macdonald, 90, of Ancrum, wearing a Second World War pilot's jacket supplied by Aero Leather Clothing in Galashiels.

Ancrum’s Thomas Mcdonald was keen to serve his country as a Spitfire pilot during the Second World War but never got the chance.

Now, however, over 70 years later, he finally got to fly one of the famous fighter planes as a 90th birthday treat, even doing a victory roll.

His son Graham said: “He wanted to join the RAF in 1943, but after a trial flight, he was told that the war would probably be over before his training was done, so he joined the Royal Marines instead, serving in Holland and Germany in 1945.

“After the war, he became a private pilot and flew many different aircraft including Tiger Moths, Chipmunks, Austers and Cessnas, accruing over 800 hours of flight time.”

The nonagenarian, a retired mechanic, was accompanied on his Spitfire flight, from Biggin Hill In Kent, by pilot Don Sigournay and kitted out in an authentic Second World War’s airman’s jacket supplied by Galashiels specialist aviation attire supplier Aero Leather Clothing.

Graham added: “He was in control for much of the flight time, which even included a victory roll in this iconic aircraft.

“He has lived and worked in Jedburgh and Ancrum for over 70 years and was a mechanic by trade.”

The Spitfire, made by Supermarine, a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong, was credited, along with the Hawker Hurricane, with winning 1940’s Battle of Britain between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe.

It was flown by the RAF from 1938 into the 1950s, and more than 50 Spitfires are believed to have survived in airworthy condition.