Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Dewar MacLeod joined the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He was attached to the Second Tactical Air Force, flying Mosquito aircraft in support of Allied ground forces in Europe when he was killed in action on September 29, 1944. His aircraft was shot down near a Belgian village, where he was temporarily buried. Sixty-two years later, in July of 2006, Dewar’s family learned his death may have been caused by friendly fire. In Identification: Friend or Foe, author James MacLeod, Dewar’s brother, who also served with the RCAF, chronicles the journey to discover the truth about Dewar’s death. Through a compilation of letters and emails, MacLeod follows the path of the investigation and the ensuing conclusions. With photos included, Identification: Friend or Foe, captures a piece of history of WWII and provides closure to events that occurred more than sixty-eight years ago.
My older brother Dewar and I grew up in Halifax. Nova Scotia. During the Second World War, he entered the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), became a pilot and a Flying Officer. After a year as an instructor, he was attached to the Second Tactical Air Force, flying Mosquito aircraft in support of Allied ground forces in Europe. When I came of age (17), I too enrolled in the RCAF and became a bomb-aimer (bombardier. When I arrived in England, I visited him and flew with him in his “Mosquito”. Ten days later, September 29, 1944, my brother was killed in action.That was all I knew, for sixty-two years, until July 26, 2006, when a notice appeared in the Halifax newspaper. In 2006, I was living in California. My cousin, Mollie Cameron ,in Halifax spotted ithe notice and phoned me. I called the number and talked to Don MacLeod, who had inserted the notice on behalf of of a Belgian aviation writer, Dirk Vander Hulst. I then emailed Dirk., who had unearthed some evidence of interest to me. and I joined him in his investigation, as did Colin Wiggins, a nephew of the navigator. We obtained information from various government agencies, which would provide it only to next off Kin. Our efforts would lead to the eventual proof that my older brother, Dewar and his navigator, F/L Wiggins, who had died sixty-two years earlier while with the RCAF in Europe, had actually lost their lives to “Friendly Fire”. Over a period of 8-9 months: We contacted the British Air Ministry, RAF Museum and Canadian Archives, among others. We traced the history of that particular Mosquito aircraft by contacting the manufacturer, deHavilland), We found that a Court of Inquiry had been held in March,1945 and we obtained those record. We located the pilot of the other aircraft and communicated with him. From: Dirk Vander Hulst To: Don MacLeod, head of the Clan MacLeod Society Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2006, 10:09 a.m. Subject: G. D. Macleod of Halifax, Nova Scotia Dear Sir, My name is Dirk Vander Hulst, and I’m writing you from Belgium in the hopes you and the Clan MacLeod Society of Halifax can help me. I’m looking for living relatives of Flying Officer George Dewar MacLeod of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His plane, a De Havilland Mosquito, came down in the Belgian village of Neerijse, which is situated about twenty kilometers east of Brussels, on September 29, 1944. I intend to write an article about the fate of George Dewar MacLeod and his crewmate, Flying Officer Alan Charles Wiggins, for Huldenbergs Heemblad, which is the periodical of the local society for history and folklore of Huldenberg and its surrounding villages. One of the villages surrounding Huldenberg is Neerijse. Yours sincerely, Dirk Vander Hulst
James MacLeod was born and raised in Nova Scotia and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He studied and practiced medicine and surgery in Nova Scotia and later in California, where he currently lives.