Maitland DFC, Wilfred Ronald (No. 111680)

Maitland, Wilfred Ronald (Ronnie)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Flight Lieutenant

No. 111680, 156 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in action on Saturday 30 May 1942 (aged 22)

Buried:

Viroflay New Communal Cemetery, Yvelines, France (Row A Grave 15)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Campbell College Belfast

The King’s Hospital School in Dublin

BIOGRAPHY

Wilfred Ronald Maitland was born on 19 May 1920 in Rathdown, Dun Laoghaire and in the CWGC Debt of Honour it is recorded that he was a son of the Rev Walter Maitland BA MSc and Ruby Alice Maitland of Bangor, Co. Down.  Walter Maitland and Ruby Alice Lightbown (born in Accrington, Lancashire) were married in 1917 in West Derby, Lancashire.  The Rev Maitland was a Church of Ireland clergyman and the Maitland family had also lived in Shillelagh in County Wicklow and Tynan in County Armagh.  Wilfred Ronald Maitland attended Campbell College, Belfast from 1936 until 1938 and he played rugby and hockey for the school.  In 1937 he played for Ulster on the inter-provincial hockey team.  In the Campbellian he was described as ‘one of those quiet, unobtrusive but nonetheless efficient people, who do their job effectively without any fuss’. He also attended The King’s Hospital School in Dublin.  After leaving school he worked as an apprentice in the Springfield Dyeing and Finishing Company in Belfast.

During the Second World War Wilfred Ronald Maitland served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in Bomber Command and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 17 May 1942.  He died on 30 May 1942, eleven days after his 22nd birthday.  He was one of a six-man crew aboard a Vickers Wellington Mark III aircraft (X3706) that took off from RAF Alconbury in Cambridgeshire at 27 minutes past midnight on a mission to bomb an oil installation and engine factory at Gennevilliers, Paris.  The aircraft crashed at Dugny, Paris and all six crew members were killed.  Initially they were buried in Dugny and later their bodies were exhumed and removed to Viroflay New Communal Cemetery.  The other five crew members who died that night were:

  • Wing Commander Peter George R. Heath (aged 26) from West Ealing, Middlesex
  • Sergeant Wilfred George Thomson
  • Sergeant Donald Keith Newton Scott
  • Sergeant F. George Brown (aged 23) from Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire
  • Flight Lieutenant Percy Arthur Dalton (aged 35) from Leeds, Yorkshire

Three of Wilfred Ronald Maitland’s brothers were also on active service during the Second World War:

Walter Eric Maitland served with the South Lancashire Regiment

William Norman Maitland served with the Royal Air Force

John Mullin Maitland served with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Fleet Air Arm)

Flight Lieutenant Wilfred Ronald Maitland (No. 111680) is commemorated in Campbell College and in The King’s Hospital School in Dublin.  He was awarded the DFC posthumously and his father Walter died on 13 June 1948 (aged 60) in Tynan, Co. Armagh.  His mother, Ruby Alice, died on 23 November 1996 (aged 96) in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim.