NZ411828 A/W/O William Joseph McCaughey, RNZAF
RNZAF Burma Star Group - Rear Gunner
The interesting Burma Star group of five, and Log Book, awarded to William Joseph McCaughey, who served as a rear gunner on Wellingtons, and on one occasion was forced to bail out over Chittagong.
William McCaughey was born in Portadown, Ireland on 22nd April 1922, son of Joseph McCaughey and his American-born wife, Lydia Fleming. He was educated at Seddon Memorial Technical College, and was working as a metal-worker in Onehunga when attested for service with the RNZAF in 1941. He was subsequently accepted for aircrew training, and embarked for Canada. During his training he qualified as a Wireless Operator and as an Air Gunner, and was promoted to T/Sergeant in February 1943. McCaughery was subsequently posted to 99 Squadron, RAF, in India where he flew as a rear gunner on the Wellington bomber. He was operational from December 1943 until July 1944, flying missions over Burma. In April 1944, on returning from a raid on Rangoon, his aircraft developed engine trouble, causing it to rapidly lose height, and the pilot instructed the crew to bail out, which they duly did. McCaughey was one of the squadrons’ aircrew that was loaned to 194 Squadron (Dakotas) during the Battle of Imphal, and he flew a number of supply dropping operations throughout June 1944. In July 1944 his aircraft crashed on takeoff, and McCaughey some minor injuries. This appears to have brought his flying to a close, as there are no further entries in his log book. At this time he had flown at least 25 operational missions.
McCaughey was promoted to T/Warrant Officer in August 1944, and returned to New Zealand in February 1945. He transferred to the Reserve in May 1945. William McCaughey died 18th March 2000, and is buried in Auckland's Waikaraka Park cemetery.
The medals were claimed in 1950, and appear to be mounted on original ribbon. McCaughey's RCAF Oberver's and Air Gunner's Flying Log Book is intact, but the spine is missing (but all the pages remain bound).
Note, the RNZAF Burma Star group to Irvine (ZM173) relates, as Irvine flew on the same crew as McCaughey and bailed out over Chittagong, along with McCaughey, in April 1944. Contact us for options on purchasing both groups together.