He was the second son of Sir Eric Robert Dalrymple Maclagan KCVO, CBE (A 1893-1897), the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, of 15 Queen’s Gate Place, London. His mother was Helen Elizabeth Maclagan, the eldest daughter of Commander the Hon. Frederick Lascelles RN. He was the younger brother of Michael Maclagan (A1927-32).
Maclagan came to Mr. Altham’s House in September 1930. Of considerable ability, he won Science, Divinity and Gillespie Prizes and was in Sixth Book before he left. Though not a games player, he was a useful rower, and finished twelfth in Senior Steeplechase.
On leaving Winchester he went into the administration of the Rhodesian Railways, and was doing extremely well there when war broke out. Joining the Rhodesian Air Force, he was first on his station in the passing-out examination, and returned to Britain as a Pilot Officer in 1939. In 1941 he was promoted to Flying Officer months before the normal time. He was killed– aged twenty-five – piloting Avro Lancaster I R5568 ‘KM-T’ of 44 Squadron over the Heinkel works at Warnemünde on the night of May 8/9th 1942. Four Lancasters were lost of the twenty-one sent. Maclagan’s, which had set out from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on the evening of May 8th, crashed near Lambrechtshagen, close to Rostock. All but one of the other members of his crew were killed; the exception was Sergeant T.D. Moore, who was taken prisoner.
He is buried in grave 8.A.15, Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, near the rest of his crew.
His mother died in a nursing home on October 19th 1942, having fallen ill in the summer and the obituary writer for the Times made a connection between the two deaths: “The stabbing news of her second son Gerald’s fall to death over Germany was a heart blow. She met it with fortitude and dignity, but who can say it did not weaken her power to resist the illness that killed her? Sorrow is immeasurable in its effects…”
- Surname: Maclagan
- Forenames or initials: Gerald
- House: A
- Years in School: 1930-1935
- Rank: Flying Officer
- Regiment: RAF Volunteer Reserve
- Date of Birth: 4th April 1917
- Date of Death: 9th May 1942
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Inner G1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery: Grave 8.A.15