Donald Margach and Guy Gibson

Donald Sinclair Margach was a bomb aimer from Edinburgh. In 1943 he served on 106 Squadron at RAF Coningsby and RAF Syerston. (Note 05/09/2020: with thanks to Clive Smith, who specialises in 106 Squadron, for pointing out that Donald ‘flew mainly at RAF Syerston as they moved there on 1st Oct 1942’.)

At that time, the squadron was commanded by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, and in the photograph above Gibson can be seen on the far left of the picture and Margach on the far right.

It is a detail from the famous photograph of 106 Squadron which appears in Gibson’s book Enemy Coast Ahead (modern edition, Crécy Classics). The large version of the photograph used here is owned by the niece of Donald Margach. It was clearly folded in half at one stage but is now mounted and framed. 

Donald 106 sqn, low res

Margach did not go with Gibson when he formed 617 Squadron, which in May 1943 carried out Operation Chastise, the audacious raid on the dams.

Donald with lady and child
Donald with an unknown lady and baby. It is possible she was his wife but he is not known to have any descendants.

Note 05/09/2020: Clive Smith has kindly pointed out that Donald Margach’s epitaph (recorded on the CWGC website) reads: DEAR HUSBAND OF GRETA, DADDY OF ALISON, LOVED SON OF MR. AND MRS. W. MARGACH – so it is very probable that it is Greta and Alison in the photograph. 

As Margach’s service record is not available, it is not known how he came to be on 582 Squadron of the Pathfinders. He lost his life, aged 32, on 29 July 1944 whilst flying with Squadron Leader Coleman’s crew. He is buried at Durnbach. The details of his last operation are below.

coleman and margach, last flight

One surviving photograph shows Donald with a Lancaster crew. There are no names or dates, but it is possible that this was the Coleman crew. Donald is second from left.

Donald Margach with lancaster crew

Photographs courtesy of Allan Brocklebank