Beauforts patrolling over Cornwall
217 Squadron Crest
Sergeant Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR)
Service No 1053585
Killed in Action - 25 November 1941 over the Channel aged 21
Donald served in RAF Coastal Command on 217 Squadron RAF based at RAF St Eval in Cornwall. He was an air gunner and flew in Bristol Beaufort aircraft in the anti shipping role. At the time of his death the Squadron was probably detached to RAF Thorney Island in Hampshire. His aircraft disappeared and the crew were never found. He is commemorated on the Runneymede Air Forces Memorial. Donald was awarded the 1939-45 Star and the War Medal1939-45.
Known to his family as 'Billy', Donald joined the RAFVR with the aim of becoming a pilot but at the RAF recruit selection centre at Padgate, near Warrington, he was selected for air gunner training. He was the son of Lord John Boyd-Orr CH DSO MC and Elizabeth Pearson Callum. His father served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in WW1 and later the Royal Navy.
Donald's father was a nutritionist who founded the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, which still operates in Dyce. Later he persuaded the United Nations to create the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and became it's first Director General. He was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts. John Boyd-Orr was a friend of Kurt Hahn's and advised him on the diet at Gordonstoun when the school was founded.