Wing Commander Evan Dall Mackie

Mackie was born at Waihi on October 31 1917. Before joining the RNZAF in January 1941 he worked as an electrician.

After completing his training Mackie was commissioned and posted to the United Kingdom. He joined 485 Squadron in early 1942 and on 26 March shared in destroying a Bf 109. A month later, when the Squadron escorted Hurribombers to Calais, Mackie probably destroyed a FW 190. Heading for home at low level his Spitfire was hit by flak in the leading edge of the port wing as he approached the French coast but he returned to base safely.

In January 1943 Mackie was posted to the Middle East and joined 243 Squadron in Algeria, becoming a flight commander shortly afterwards. On 7 April the squadron was on patrol over the First Army front when it intercepted fifteen Ju 87's with a Bf 109 escort. The dive-bombers jettisoned their bombs but the Spitfires closed in and shot down five, Mackie claiming two. Three days later he destroyed a Bf 109 which exploded in mid-air, and, in the next four weeks, destroyed another two and shared a third. He was subsequently awarded the DFC.

In June 1943 the squadron moved to Malta to take part in the imminent invasion of Sicily. Mackie was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader and given command of the unit. On 4 July the unit covered Fortresses attacking Catania and as the bombers left the target six Bf 109's appeared. Although his cannons were not working properly Mackie set one on fire and, chased by other 109's, dived down to sea level and escaped. On the way back to Malta, with cannons now functioning correctly, he attacked a two-masted schooner south-east of Augusta. In spite of being fired at by shore batteries he again returned safely to base.

Mackie destroyed another Bf 109 on 5 July, probably destroyed a Macchi 202 on the 12th and shot down three Ju 87's the following day. His operational tour now over, he was awarded a Bar to his DFC. In November 1943 Mackie took command of 92 Squadron in Italy and, by the time he handed over in February 1944 he had claimed a further four victories, bringing his score to sixteen.

After a rest period Mackie converted to Tempests and, in mid-December 1944, was attached to 274 Squadron at Volkel in Holland. On the 24th he shot down an FW 190 which had just downed two Canadian Typhoons over the Malmedy area. In early January 1945 Mackie was given command of 80 Squadron at Volkel.

He destroyed a Bf 109 on 23 January 1945, shot down a FW 190 near Hanover on 7 March, destroyed two Arado AR 96 trainers on 9 April and shared in the destruction of a FW 190 six days later. Mackie, who had been awarded the DSO in January 1945, was promoted to Wing Commander in mid-April and on the 19th he became Wing Leader 122 Wing. He held this appointment until September 1945.

On 4 May 1945 Mackie led eight Tempests of 486 Squadron in the Kiel-Haderslev area. They claimed three Fiesler Storchs destroyed on the ground. Mackie finished the war with twenty-one victories, all but five of them in Spitfires. In addition to his British awards he also held the DFC (US). He returned to New Zealand to become chief inspector with the Tauranga Power Board, and died in Tauranga in April 1986.