Malcolm Plaw MacLeod DFC was born in Renfrew, Ontario, about 60 miles northwest of Ottawa. From 1905 to 1910 he attended Kimberley Public School and from 1911 to 1917, he attended University of Toronto Schools.

On April 1, 1918, the Royal Naval Air Service merged (RNAS) with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) to become the Royal Air Force (RAF) and decorations after April 1st would be Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFCs) rather than DSCs (RNAS) or MCs (RFC). No record of MacLeod’s service with the RNAS or RFC has been found. However it is almost certain that he was enlisted with one of them before they became part of the RAF on April 1, 1918.

The Department of National Defence biography files show that MacLeod was commisioned on August 13, 1917, likely as a lieutenant with the RFC. These same files show that MacLeod joined No. 41 Squadron RAF on August 17, 1918. By the end of WW1 he had shot down four enemy aircraft and two enemy observation balloons.

Post WW1 he attended University of Toronto from 1919 to 1921. DND files show that he was a stockbroker from 1927 to 1941, likely in Toronto.

On April 4, 1941, he joined the RCAF with the rank of Pilot Officer and was stationed at Ottawa (Rockliffe) airport for two weeks before being posted to No. 4 Bombing & Gunnery School at Fingal Saskatchewan. On May 2, 1943 he was transferred to No. 19 Service Flying Training School at Vulcan, Alberta.

On April 14, 1945 he was posted to No. 15 Service Flying Training School at Claresholme, Alberta, but was only there for three weeks before being posted to No.1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden, Ontario on May 8, 1945. On September 20, 1945 he was released from the RCAF.