Group Captain William Neil McKechnie was a pilot in the Royal Air Force who was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal in 1929.
McKechnie left The Perse and joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot in 106 Squadron. At the age of 21 he was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (later The George Cross) for saving the life of a fellow pilot, Flight Cadet C.J. Giles. Giles’ aircraft had crashed on landing at Cranwell Aerodrome and burst into flames. McKechnie dragged Giles clear of the flames and extinguished his burning clothes.
During World War Two, McKechnie was a Group Commander at RAF Metheringham with 106 Squadron. He was involved in eighteen operations across Germany, including The Battle of Berlin. On 29th August 1944, during his eighteenth flight, McKechnie’s plane was lost without trace over Königsberg. His name is engraved on the Air Force memorial at Runnymeade.