The Air Ministry commissioned the first MacRobert's Reply, the Short Stirling N6086 at RAF Wyton on the 10th October 1941. She was handed over to her first pilot, Flying Officer Peter Boggis, with these words from Lady MacRobert: " The best of good luck boys, always, and whenever and wherever you go. I know you will strike hard, sharp, and straight to the mark. That is the only language the enemy understands. My thoughts and thousands of other mothers are with you, and we are truly grateful to all concerned. Also thanks to those of you who have the care of my 'Reply' and prepare her for her flights. May the blows you strike bring us nearer victory. God bless you all".
After just a few operations the MacRobert's Reply was then handed over to Flying Officer 'Red' King who flew the aircraft in many operations. It was King who began to form the nucleus of a permanent crew that would later move on to the second MacRobert's Reply and which included my father Sgt Donald Jeffs, Wireless Operator.
Lady MacRobert had continued her generosity and patriotism with another £25,000 donation to the RAF in November 1941. She requested that the RAF purchase 4 Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. The four aircraft were handed over to 94 Squadron at Port Said on 19th September 1942.
They were given the following names:
The MacRobert's fighter Sir Iain HL735; The MacRobert's fighter Sir Alasdair HL844 The MacRobert's fighter Sir Roderic HL851; The MacRobert's salute to Russia the Lady HL775