Donald MacLaren
Donald MacLaren
Donald Roderick MacLaren
  • Country: Canada
  • Rank: Major
  • Service: Royal Flying Corps
  • Units: 46
  • Victories: 54
  • Date Of Birth: May 28, 1893
  • Place of Birth: Ottawa, Ontario
  • Date Of Death: July 4, 1989

MacLaren joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. his 54 victories, made him the highest scoring ace to fly a Sopwith Camel. MacLaren's last victory on October 9, 1918. His combat career came to an end the next day when he broke his leg while wrestling with a friend. Following the Armistice, he helped form the Royal Canadian Air Force before retiring to begin a career in civil aviation.

Military Cross (MC)

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On one occasion, when on low bombing work, he bombed a long-range enemy gun 9,000 yards behind the lines, obtaining from a height of 200 feet two direct hits on the gun truck and two on the railway track alongside. When returning to our lines he encountered a hostile two-seater machine, which he shot down crashing to earth. He then attacked a balloon, which burst into flames, and finally, observing another enemy two-seater plane, he engaged it and eventually succeeded in crashing it to earth. He has set an excellent example of gallantry and skill to his squadron." MC citation, London Gazette, June 22, 1918

Military Cross (MC) Bar

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as a fighting pilot. He has recently destroyed no less than nine enemy machines, and proved himself a brilliant fighting pilot against enemy aircraft often far superior in number. He has done magnificent service, and set a splendid example to his patrol." MC Bar citation, London Gazette, September 16, 1918

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

"Accompanied by two other pilots, this officer attacked four enemy aeroplanes; all of these were destroyed; he himself fought two down to within 200 feet of the ground, destroying both. The two pilots who were with him each accounted for one of the remaining two. It was a well-conceived maneuver ably carried out, reflecting credit on all concerned. This officer has in four and a half months accounted for 37 hostile aircraft and six balloons, displaying great resolution and exceptional tactical ability." DFC citation, London Gazette, September 21, 1918

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

"Bold in attack and skilful in maneuver, Captain MacLaren is conspicuous in his success in aerial combats. On the 24th September he and his patrol of three machines attacked a formation of six enemy scouts, although the later were protected by sixteen other enemy aircraft at a higher altitude. Firing a burst at point-blank range, this officer shot down one in flames. In all, he has accounted for 48 enemy machines and six kite balloons." DSO citation, London Gazette, February 8, 1919