Lost Cousins: Sergeant Thomas Alexander MCCORD (1921-41)

img_2851-copySgt Thomas Alexander MCCORD, 612781, 211 Squadron Royal Air Force, killed in action in Greece/Albania on 6 Jan 1941. He is commemorated at the El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt.

Thomas Alexander MCCORD, known as Lexy to the family and ‘Jock’ to his fellow airmen, was born in Belfast. He was 19 when the plane he was in was hit by enemy fire and crashed on landing, killing all on board.

211_squadron_raf_blenheim_greece_wwii_iwm_cm_288
A Bristol Blenheim Mark 1 of 211 Squadron preparing to taxy at Menidi, Greece, c.1941 (IWM)

Sgt MCCORD was one of a three-man crew flying L8536, a Bristol Blenheim Mk1. The others were Flight Officer Luke Sylvestre ‘Duke’ DELANEY, 40371, a Londoner aged 22 who had joined the RAF in 1938, and Sergeant (Observer) Vynor ‘Vic’ POLLARD, 745972, a 22-year-old Yorkshireman who was in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and had been called up at the start of the war. ‘Jock’ MCCORD was the crew’s WOp/AG (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner). 211 Squadron was stationed at this time at Menidi in Greece.

L8536 was one of a number of planes taking part in the 6 Jan 1941 raid on the port at Valona, when it was struck by enemy fire. A second plane, L1487, was forced to ditch and its airmen taken as prisoners of war. L8536, though badly damaged, was able to carry on on a single engine. Forced to ditch somewhere near Argyrokastron, the plane hit boulders on landing, killing the crew outright.

All three crew members are commemorated at the El Alamein War Cemetery.

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Thomas Alexander MCCORD was born on 20 Feb 1921 in North Belfast, to parents Thomas MCCORD (b.1885) and Edith Helen NICOL (b.1896). He was the elder of two children, and was unmarried at the time of his death.

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Luke Sylvestre DELANEY was born in 1919 in Willesden, London, to parents Luke Terence DELANEY and Amy FARQUHAR. He was one of six children and was known in the family as Sylvester. The family lived in Brondesbury Park, NW6 at the time of his death.

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Vynor POLLARD was born in Sculcoates near Hull in 1919, to parents Edward J POLLARD and Beatrice DOLMAN. He was the youngest of three children and was known in the family as Billie. The family lived in Withernsea, East Yorkshire at the time of his death, and he is commemorated on two war memorials there.

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Other sources used include: CWGC; the British Newspaper Archive; and FreeBMD. I am also indebted to Don Clark’s wonderful 211squadron.org website, which is a treasure trove of information and recollections about the Squadron and the men who flew with it.

(Photograph from the collections of the Imperial War Museums © IWM (CM 288))

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One thought on “Lost Cousins: Sergeant Thomas Alexander MCCORD (1921-41)

  1. Hi. I just came across this, a year after it was posted. Luke Delaney was my great uncle and I’d love to share our stories. Can you put me in touch with the original poster? Thanks.

    Like

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