Albert Mair MacLean chronicles his family history and his own life story. The autobiography My Life: Adventures of an RCAF Flying Officer, Eaton’s Manager and Family Man, features gripping details of his service in World War II as a pilot on the Avro Lancaster Mk III bomber.
From November, 1944 to May 1945, Flying Officer 'Mac" MacLean few a total of twenty-five missions over Europe with his intrepid crew, facing dire risks on many occasions. Fortunately -- could it be "Tall pilots are lucky?" — he returned safely from war service to marry his one true love, Mary Fraser.
With warmth and humour, MacLean recounts his years raising a family, and working for the T. Eaton Company in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where he served as Atlantic Catalogue Sales Manager during the 1970s. Colourful accounts of overseas trips and community involvement round out My Life, which includes genealogical charts, more than ninety historic family photos, and a selection of wartime letters.
My Life was edited and co-written by his daughter Margaret Anne Hume.
On Tuesday, May 30, , I packed, got clearance from the AFU (Advanced Flying Unit) Long Newton, and took the train to London. The train was packed and hot, and I think I had to stand up all the way, a trip of about four hours. I was too tired to continue to the OTU Silverstone, so I checked into the Maple Leaf Club, one of about four such clubs run by Canada for the forces. I spent the morning visiting the Royal Bank in Trafalgar Square, lunched at Mrs. Massey’s Club opposite Canada House, and then went by train to my new base.READ MORE
The next day I had to report to the Adjutant to explain why I was a day late. While there, I met an RAF Officer Ron Norgrove, a bomb aimer, also reporting in late. We went to lunch and I found out that I had to choose my own future crew mates. Six hundred assorted aircrew were gathered in one of the hangers for the purpose of assembling crews. The two of us, Ron Norgrove and I, found our way there. We entered the wide-open hangar door to see a mass of guys standing around with apparently nobody in charge. While I was looking over the crowd, three sergeants approached me. They were all about nineteen years old and short in stature. The one in the middle spoke to me with a slight Scottish brogue.
“Skipper, are you crewed up yet?”
“No, I just arrived,” I said.
“Well, me and me mates are looking for a tall pilot.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because tall pilots are lucky.”COLLAPSE
"My Life by Albert Mair MacLean with Margaret Anne Hume is a memoir of a remarkable, unassuming man who saw his duty clearly and carried it out with humour and forbearance. The book, while written for his family, is relevant to every Canadian, particularly those who have no recollection of the horror that was the Second World War. Like my own father, who was a physician in the RAF, Mister MacLean volunteered for service in the RCAF, but as a pilot who flew Lancaster bombers. Of the 125,000 aircrew who served 55,573 were killed. Eighteen percent of these were Canadian. To read My Life is to pay homage to everyone."