McNeill, Malcolm “McGinty” James

Malcolm, or McGinty or Jim, as he was known to his mates, was born on the 11th August 1921 in Brisbane, Queensland. He enlisted in the RAAF on the 28th February 1941 and served with 110 MFCU (Mobile Fighter Control Unit) in Darwin, Morotai and Balikpapan.

The MFCU were the Support Unit of No.1 Spitfire Fighter Wing in Darwin, and the Support Unit of No.80 Spitfire Fighter Wing in Morotai and Balikpapan. The Unit was known as 110 Mobile Fighter Control Unit Assault Echelon for the landing at Balikpapan on the 1st July 1945 with the 7th Division AIF. In general, a MFCU was responsible for controlling anti-aircraft batteries and air-to-air interceptions of Japanese raiders, as well as assault duties.

110MFCU.McNeillMcGinty was a great leader and respected by all of the airmen under him on his watch, as well as others on the Unit. He lead by example. When it was known that we were going to Balikpapan, McGinty was told that he would be going as Signals Officer, and because practically everybody had their tropical time up, they would call for volunteers. He strongly objected to this and said, “I will give you a list of those who I would like to take with me, and you can ask them if they want to volunteer.” Of those interviewed, only one declined and he was on his second tour in the tropics.

McGinty served with distinction and was discharged on the 15th January 1946. After the war, he became an Air Traffic Controller with the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). On retirement, he was the boss of DCA Queensland.

The photo of some of the members of 11o MFCU was taken in Morotai in early 1945. McGinty in the back row, second from the right; Ray Hart on his right; Cedric Askew, front row, first on left; and Peter Nugent, front row, far right. McNeill Malcolm James Pic 2

Ray Hart and Paul Carter 
The Spitfire Association