FIRST NAMES: Stanley Arthur

NUMBER: 1502332

RANK: Warrant Officer Pilot

UNIT: 218 (Gold Coast) Squadron RAF

DOB:23rd April 1924




DATE OF DEATH: 16th April 1947

WHERE BURIED: Northallerton Cemetery

MEDALS: 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, Victory Medal

Photo of W/O S.A. McCabe

Stanley McCabe was born on the 23rd April 1924 and was the youngest son of George and Elizebeth McCabe of 4 Market Row, Northallerton and brother to Harry Flo Mary and Charlie. He went to the national and the Allertonshire schools and on leaving school worked in the construction industry as a labourer at RAF Leeming airfield.

As soon as he reached his 17th birthday, Stan volunteered for the RAF and in 1942 was accepted shortly after his 18th birthday. Stan joined up with one of his school pals, Bill Wood who is now a motor engineer at Scruton. Both of them did their 'square bashing' at Blackpool marching up and down the promenade with the usual sergeant bawling and shouting at them. On completion of their basic training Bill went to train as a motor mechanic and was posted to the Middle East. Stan was accepted for aircrew and in March 1943 sailed to Canada to train as a pilot.

While in Canada Stan learned to fly Tiger Moths and Harvards with a few hours on Ansons and Oxfords. On returning to England in 1944 he learnt to fly Wellingtons at a heavy conversion unit (HCU) and then converted to the four engined Lancaster and Stirling. Stan proved that it wasn't neccesary to have a formal education to become a pilot and in February 1945 he was posted to 218 Gold Coast Squadron which operated Lancasters.

On February 28th Stan flew his first operational sortie with Bomber Command. This was a daylight raid to Gelsen Kirschen followed by raids on Cologne Wanne-Gakz, Munster Bocholt, Dessau, Heligoland and Bremen. It was during his operational flying that Stan developed a penchant for flying while wearing his pyjamas under his flying suit. In May, with a few days remaining of the war, Stan and his crew were involved in the humanitarian flights called Operation Manna, the supplying and dropping of food to the starving Dutch people. He did three operations on Manna and three operations on Operation Evacuation, repatriating prisoners of war. So Stan, who trained as a bomber pilot and flew 8 bombing missions, ended the war on a peaceful and fulfilling note, delivering food to the hungry and bringing home British soldiers who had been held prisoner.

Stan stayed with 218 Squadron until November 1945 after which he joined 149 Squadron Lancasters at Methwold and then No 35 Squadron Lancasters at Gravely in 1946.

In September 1946 Stan was sent to the RAF Tuberculosis Hospital Kirkham in Lancashire. He stayed there until December when he was transferred to the RAF Hospital Northallerton, which is now the Rutson. On 16th April 1947 Stanley died of TB at the age of 27. He was given a full military funeral and lies in a Commonwealth War grave in the Northallerton cemetery.

Stanley McCabe is remembered in the Central Church of the Royal Air Force St. Clement Danes, London, the Northallerton War Memorial and on the All Saints Church Memorial.