Wing Commander Ruthven Montgomerie Chase MacFarlane
Wg Cdr MacFarlane had been an Army officer in France during the First World War, initially in 60th Battery, Royal Field Artillery and then as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. At one point he was a pilot with 35 Sqn, RFC, flying the Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8. He was mentioned in dispatches in Aug 1917 and won the military cross during a patrol in 1918:
Lieut. RUTHVEN MONTGOMERIE CHASE MACFARLANE, R.F.A. and R.F.C. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During a flight, lasting for over two fours, carried out at a height of 700 ft., he performed a very accurate contact patrol at a critical period, obtaining the most valuable information concerning the enemy's dispositions. He also engaged many batteries and infantry with machine gun fire, and throughout by his courage and keenness he set a fine example to all ranks.
He was transferred to the RAF when it was formed in 1918 and seems to have made it his career. Whilst serving at No 2 Flying Training School, RAF Duxford he became engaged to Edith Muriel ('Moonie') Atkinson. She'd been living in South Kensington but their marriage in 1920 was in Eastbourne where both their parents lived. Her father, Rev Atkinson, had been a housemaster at Eastbourne College. By 1943 Ruthven's parents had moved to Guernsey.
He was promoted to Squadron Leader in Jan 1932. In 1933 he was posted to the School of Army Cooperation at Old Sarum, near Salisbury, as Chief Flying Instructor. He was promoted to Wing Commander in 1937, then posted to RAF Uxbridge for administrative duties. He retired in 1939 due to ill health.
Their only son, Ruthven Arnold joined the RAF but was killed in action on 18 Sep 1940. Pilot Officer MacFarlane was the navigator on a Bristol Beaufort aircraft (L4508) of 22 Sqn, Coastal Command, which was shot down by flak during an night torpedo attack on shipping at Cherbourg. The aircraft crashed onto a house, killing 7 people on the ground as well as the 4 crew.
When their son was killed Ruthen senior and Edith were living at Rose Villa, Stockton Lane, York. But by 1943 they'd moved to Hough on the Hill. He was killed on active service on 10 Mar 1943, aged 46, but we don't know under what circumstances. He was buried in Hough churchyard; the gravestone also records the son's death.
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