Irish officer served with 107 Sqdn, RAF in GB, 1938-1940; served with 105 and 110 Sqdns, RAF in GB, 1940- 1941; served as instructor with 70 Operational Training Unit at Nakuru, Kenya, 1941-1942; commanded 244 Sqdn, RAF in Iraq, 1943-1944
REEL 1 Background in County Meath, Ireland, 1917-1936: family; education. Recollections of operations as pilot with 107 Sqdn, RAF in GB, 1938-1939: joining squadron after training at RAF College, Cranwell; joining squadron, 7/1938; contrast between flying Hawker Hind and Bristol Blenheim Mk I; waiting for squadron to return from raid on German fleet at Wilhelmshaven, 4/3/1939; operating against Germans in Stavanger, Norway from RAF Lossiemouth; method of evading German fighters; contrast between Bristol Blenheim Mk I and Mk IV; raid on bridges at Maastricht in which he crashed landed, 12/5/1940; character of commanding officer Basil Embry; operations flown against advancing Germans, 5/1940; under fire from British and German anti-aircraft fire over Dunkirk.
REEL 2 Continues: use of The Swan Public House in Lavenham; question of flying 'under the influence'; fate of inexperienced pilots; posting to 101 Sqdn, RAF for training purposes, 6/1940-12/1940. Aspects of operations as pilot with 105 Sqdn, RAF in GB, 1940-1941: joining squadron, 12/1940; night and intruder operations; coping with cold in Bristol Blenheim cockpit; character of night bombing raids over Germany; attitude to leaving squadron. Aspects of operations as pilot with 110 Sqdn, RAF in GB, 1941: responsibilities as flight commander; low level shipping attacks off coast of Netherlands. Aspects of period as instructor with 70 Operational Training Unit at Nakuru, Kenya, 1941-1942: posting to unit; reasons for high casualties. Aspects of period commanding 244 Sqdn, RAF at Sharjah, Iraq, 1943-1944: opinion of Bristol Blenheim Mk V; squadron sinking of U-boat in Gulf of Oman, 1944; conversion to Vickers Wellington XIII. Discussion of photograph taken of sinking ship in English Channel, 1940.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.