Group Captain WILLIAM NEIL McKECHNIE
Royal Air Force
Died 30 August 1944
Age 37 years old
- Country of Service United Kingdom
- Awards George Cross
- Additional Info Son of Lt.-Col. William Ernest McKechnie, I.M.S., and Marion A. McKechnie; husband of Mary Roma McKechnie, of Musselburgh, Midlothian.
- Additional Citation note
The London Gazette of 18th October, 1929, gives the following details in announcing the award to Group Captain (then Flight Cadet) McKechnie of the Empire Gallantry Medal, which was exchanged for the George Cross by the terms of the institution of that award in September 1940: On 20th June, 1929, an aeroplane piloted by Flight Cadet C. J. Giles crashed on landing at Cranwell aerodrome and burst into flames. The pilot was stunned, but managed to release his safety belt and fall out of the machine in a dazed condition. Flight Cadet McKechnie, who had landed in another aeroplane about the same time some two hundred yards away, left his machine and ran at full speed towards the scene of the accident. The petrol had spread over an area about ten yards in diameter, in full blaze, with Giles lying in it semi-conscious. McKechnie, without hesitation, ran into the flames and pulled out Giles, who was badly burned. McKechnie, who was himself scorched and superficially burned, then proceeded to extinguish Giles's burning clothing. There is no doubt that without McKechnie's assistance Giles would have been burned to death, as he was quite incapable of moving himself. His machine was entirely destroyed, and the ground for some distance around was burned up by the spread of the ignited petrol.