Bio / Text:
Maxwell joined 145 Squadron in January 1942 when the squadron was based at Catterick for a period of training before going overseas. The Operation Record Book shows that he transferred from 122 Squadron and there is a flight for him on 26/12/1941 on their records, though the serial is incorrectly recorded as X4950 when it should be X4930. In February 145 squadron started the journey to the Middle East. They started operations flying Spitfires in June 1942, the first ME squadron to receive Spitfires. The Operation Record Book is not very helpful with serials as most of the flights give only the aircraft letter and the three digits of the serial.
On the 26th of June Mahady failed to return from an operation with Sgt Bruce W Bailey (NZ/411030) who had also joined 145 in January. The squadron spent the day on a standing reconnaissance at 12,000 feet over Sidi Barrani aerodrome. The ORB complains that “the enemy only has to send out a defensive patrol to a higher altitude and the Spitfires will be jumped.”
Mahady was taken prisoner on the 28th and spent the rest of the war as a POW including time at Stalag Luft III. Despite being listed as a Sergeant with 145 squadron his POW records mostly have him as a Flight Lieutenant. Bailey also ended up as a POW.
Mahady returned to Australia after the war and died in 2005.
The aircraft he was flying on his final flight is listed as E 322. Oddly E 322 is also listed subsequently on the 30th as forcelanded. It would appear that 145 operated AB322 and AR322 in June from the movement cards. AB322 shows “forcelanded while escorting Hurricanes near Daba” which is consistent with the incident on the 30th. AR322 is struck off charge on the 29th so if Mahady was flying a 322 it has to be AR322.