- Paddy Finucane
Infobox Military Person
name= Brendan Eamon Fergus Finucane
Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland
Pointe du Touquet, France
caption= Paddy Finucane c. 1940.
rank= Wing Commander
Royal Air Force
commands= 65 Squadron (1940)
452 Squadron (1941)
602 Squadron (1942)
battles= Second World War
awards= Distinguished Flying Cross and two Bars
Distinguished Service Order
Brendan Éamon FitzPatrick Finucane, DSO, DFC & two Bars (1920 - 1942), known as Paddy Finucane, was an Irish RAF fighter pilot. He was a high scoring Second World War
flying ace– claiming 32 victories – and was the RAF's youngest Wing Commander in its history.
Paddy Finucane was the first child of Thomas and Florence Finucane; born on
16 October 1920in Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, the eldest of five siblings. His father was a member of the Irish Volunteersand served under Éamon de Valera's command in the 1916 Risingin Dublin. He was educated at Synge Street CBS, O'Connell SchoolCBS in Dublin and later at The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial Schoolin Londonafter his family emigratedto Englandin 1936.
Royal Air Force
Finucane joined the RAF in May 1938. After flying training and conversion to the
Supermarine Spitfirehe was posted as a Pilot Officer to 65 Squadron at RAF Hornchurchin 1940. Finucane claimed his first victory in the Battle of Britainon 12 August 1940, a Bf 109. No. 65 Squadron was rested at the end of August 1940 and did not return to 11 Group until November. Flying from Tangmere, by year's end, Finucane had claimed four Bf 109s and a Bf 110.
A year later in April 1941, Finucane was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and posted as a flight commander to an Australian 452 Squadron at
RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, the first RAAF squadron to serve in Fighter Command. Making their debut on operations in July 1941, "Paddy" added 17 fighter claims to his score by his 21st birthday in October 1941, also being awarded a Distinguished Service Order.
In January 1942, Finucane was given command of 602 Squadron at
RAF Redhill. On 20 February 1942Finucane was slightly wounded in the leg during a strafing mission with his new command. Four Fw 190s fell to his guns in March 1942. Finucane's fame spread beyond RAF ranks and "model airplanes of his Spitfire with the vivid green Shamrocks were sold all along Piccadilly Circus and The Strand." [ [http://www.acesofww2.com/UK/aces/Paddy_Finucane.htm Biography of Brendan "Paddy" Finucane] ]
Finucane became the youngest Wing Commander in the RAF on
27 June 1942, leading the HornchurchWing.
He was killed at the age of 21 on
15 July 1942, when he was leading a fighter "Ramrod" operation (cannon and machine gun attack by fighters) against a German army camp at Etaples France. He always said that the Luftwaffewould never get him, and it was actually a ground shot from a single machine gunpost near Pointe du Touquetwhich hit his Spitfire. He flew slowly out to sea, talking calmly to his comrades. Finally, when ten miles from the French coast, he sent his last message, spoken probably as his engine stopped: "This is it, chaps." He crashed from about 10 feet above the sea, and his machine sank at once.
By the time of his death he had claimed a total of 26 aircraft destroyed, six shared destroyed and eight probably destroyed.
A rose, Spitfire Paddy, grown by Sean McCann was named in memory of him. In November 2004, the rose was planted in the memorial garden in
Baldonnel Aerodromein Dublin (home of the Irish Air Corps) beside the garrison church. It was from Baldonnel in 1932 with his younger brother, Raymond, that he first took to air. The ceremony was attended by members of the RAF Association and the Air Corps. Corgidie cast model manufacturers have created in 1/72 scale, his Spitfire complete with the shamrock. The model depicts his aircraft in which he achieved most of his victories when he flew with 452 Squadron Royal Australian Air Forcein 1941.
His name is inscribed on Panel 64 of the Air Forces Memorial at
Runnymede. The memorial commemorates airmen who were lost in the Second World War and who have no known grave. The Battle of Britain Memorial on London's Embankment also includes his name as one of the "Few."
His flying logbook can be viewed in the Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition in the
National Museum of Irelandin Collins Barracks, Dublin. It is on loan from the Finucane family. His uniform is on display at the RAF Museumin Hendon, London.
* Byrne, Maurice. "The Ace with the Shamrock". "Dublin Historical Record" Volume LIX, No.1, Spring 2006, Published by the Old Dublin Society.
* Churchill, Winston S. "The Grand Alliance (Seventh impression), Volume 3, Appendix G", 1954, p. 644.
* Liebling, A.J. "Paddy of the R.A.F", "The New Yorker",
6 December 1941. Reprinted as pp. 622–635 in: A.J. Liebling: "World War II Writings". New York: The Library of America, 2008. ISBN 1-59853-018-6.
* Stokes, Doug. "Paddy Finucane, Fighter Ace: A Biography of Wing Commander Brendan E. Finucane, D.S.O., D.F.C. and Two Bars". London: Crécy Publishing, 1992, p. 220. ISBN 0-947554-22-X.
List of military figures by nickname
* [http://www.acesofww2.com/UK/aces/Paddy_Finucane.htm Biography of Brendan "Paddy" Finucane]
* [http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1270044 Commonwealth War Graves Commission]
* [http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1282965&issue_id=11661 Irish Independent article about the rose planting ceremony]
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