Flying Officer Stuart McIntyre Connacher
On 16th February 1943, an afternoon fighter sweep (Rodeo 170) turned into a disaster for Kenley’s Canadian wing with Flying Officer Connacher of 403 squadron and Pilot Officer Orlan Brown of 402 squadron killed, and Flying Officer H. Williamson, flying Spitfire IX BR633, also of 402 squadron, taken Prisoner of War….
F/O STUART MCINTYRE CONNACHER was born on the 13th August, 1918, in Dalhousie, New Brunswick, Canada. His Father, James Chalmers Connacher, worked as a Wood’s Superintendent for Fraser Pulp and Paper Co. His Mother, Frances Ingram, died in 1934, aged 52. Stuart was one of six children, three boys and three girls, though his sister Marge, died the year after his Mother. He was a keen sportsman and received the Sir Frederick Williams-Taylor Gold Medal for being the best all-round athlete at University in 1940. It was during his second year of studying Civil Engineering (Forestry) at the University of New Brunswick that he enlisted in the RCAF, in April 1941.
Stuart began his Initial training at Belleville, Ontario on 23rd August, 1941.
When he moved on to Course 40 at 11 Elementary Flying Training School in October 1941, he had difficulty going solo, but despite this, still graduated first in his class. Records also note that he was very shy, with a quiet, retiring nature – a brilliant student displaying excellent conduct.
He received his Pilot’s flying badge on 27th March, 1942, and married his Scottish fiance, Flora MacDonald, on the same day, in Moncton, New Brunswick. The newlyweds had hardly any time together before Stuart was sent overseas to England. Flora was expecting a baby and had moved into the Connacher family home. Stuart completed his training with No.61 Operational Training Unit (Course 18) at RAF Rednal on 6th October, 1942, and was definitely flying operationally with 403 squadron by 9th December.
Stuart McIntyre Connacher took off from Kenley, flying Spitfire BS145, at 16.35pm on the 16th February, 1943, for Rodeo 170. He drifted away from his squadron and was never seen again. Oxygen failure was the most likely cause of his death.
His baby girl, Patricia Flora Connacher, was six weeks old when he died, aged 24 years old.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.
402 and 403 squadron Operations Record Book
RCAF service files.