Brendan Finucane

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Brendan Eamon Fergus Finucane
Brendan Finucane 1941.
Nickname(s) Paddy[1]
Born (1920-10-16)16 October 1920
Rathmines, County Dublin
Died 15 July 1942(1942-07-15) (aged 21)
English Channel
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1938–1942
Rank Wing Commander
Service number 41276[2]
Unit No. 65 Squadron RAF
No. 452 Squadron RAAF
No. 602 Squadron RAF
Hornchurch Wing
Commands held No. 602 Squadron RAF
Hornchurch Wing

Second World War

Awards Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross & Two Bars

Wing Commander Brendan Eamonn Fergus Finucane DSO, DFC & Two Bars (16 October 1920 – 15 July 1942), known as Paddy Finucane amongst his colleagues, was a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter pilot and flying ace—defined as an aviator credited with five or more enemy aircraft destroyed in aerial combat. Finucane claimed, and was credited with, 28 air victories, five probably destroyed, six shared destroyed, one shared probable victory, and eight damaged. Included in his total were 23 Messerschmitt Bf 109s, four Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and one Messerschmitt Bf 110.[3] Official records differ over the exact total. After the war, two of Finucane's victories that were credited as probables had, in fact, been destroyed, but were not officially included. His total victory count could be as high as 32.[4] Some sources credit him this figure.[5]

Born into a Catholic family in Ireland of Irish and English heritage,[citation needed] Finucane grew up during the "early troubles",[N 1] and the Irish Civil War. In 1936 the family moved to England where he developed an interest in aviation. Keen to fly, Finucane applied to join the RAF and in August 1938, was accepted for flight training as a pilot. After a shaky training career, in which he crash–landed on one occasion, he received news that he had successfully completed flight training. In June–July 1940, he began conversion training on the Supermarine Spitfire. On 13 July, Finucane was posted to No. 65 Squadron at RAF Hornchurch.

Finucane's first victory was scored on 12 August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. During the campaign, he was credited with two enemies destroyed, two probably destroyed and one damaged.[7] Promoted to acting flight lieutenant in April 1941, he joined No. 452 Squadron flying offensive patrols over France. During this period, Finucane had his most successful period of operations, destroying 20 German aircraft, sharing in the destruction of three, with two damaged and another two probably destroyed from 4 January–13 October 1941.[8]

In January 1942, Finucane was promoted to the rank of squadron leader in No. 602 Squadron. Within six months, he was credited a further six individual victories bringing his tally to 28. Four more were damaged, four were shared destroyed and two credited as individual probable victories and one shared probable. In June 1942, he became the RAF's youngest wing commander in its history.[9]

On 15 July 1942, Finucane took off with his flight for a mission over France. His Spitfire was damaged by ground–fire. Finucane attempted to fly back to England across the English Channel but was forced to ditch into the sea. Finucane vanished. After his death, Finucane's brother Raymond served as a bomber pilot in No. 101 Squadron RAF, and survived the war.[10]

Early life[edit]

Brendan Finucane was born on 16 October 1920, the first child of Thomas and Florence Finucane of 13 Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland. His mother was English, originally from Leicester.[11] Florence was not a strict Catholic and upon arriving in Dublin often refused to curtsy to priests as was customary. She was musical and attended the local church to participate in the choir. She bought a piano. Her decision to move to Ireland and seek adventure was inspired by her mother, who had travelled across Canada. Florence accepted the danger that came with living in Dublin at that time.[11]

In 1919, she met Thomas Andrew Finucane, who had been involved in the Irish Rebellion.[citation needed] He had been taught mathematics at college by Éamon de Valera, leader of the Irish opposition. As a member of the Irish Volunteers,[citation needed] he served under de Valera's command in the 1916 Rising in Dublin.[citation needed] His allegiance was in contrast to Thomas' father—Brendan Finucane's grandfather—an Englishman who had served in the King's Own Scottish Borderers on the North-West Frontier Province. Thomas Finucane had ceased his political activism shortly before, and the couple married in October 1919, after Florence had converted to Catholicism.[11][12]

The couple moved to Drumcondra in October 1919, where Thomas found a job as a bank cashier. The job did not pay well, but the two managed on his meagre wages. In early 1920, they moved to Grove Road in the Rathmines district, and Brendan was born in October. Soon afterwards, Brendan and his mother were nearly killed when caught in the cross-fire between the Irish volunteers employed by the British—Black and Tans and the Irish Republican Army (IRA).[13]

In 1921, Brendan's brother Raymond was born, followed by sisters Clare and Monica, and a brother, Kevin. The household was somewhat split over religious and political issues. Their father was a teetotaller and a strict Catholic who was rigid in his views. Their mother, however, encouraged the elder brothers to adopt a more liberal leaning in life. Brendan was educated at Synge Street and Marlborough Street. At 10, Brendan showed a keen interest in sport, particularly rugby. His aggressive spirit often saw him getting into fights with other pupils.[13][14]

Interest in aviation[edit]

In summer 1932, the Finucane brothers were taken to an air show at Baldonnel and had a 10-minute flight. Brendan expressed his desire to become a pilot, an ambition which strengthened during holiday visits to air shows at Swaythling and Eastleigh airfields. In August 1933, the family moved to New Grange Road, Cabra and Brendan started school at the Christian Brothers O'Connell School, a distinguished Roman Catholic school in North Richmond Street. There he became a successful rugby player, rower and a champion boxer. Among his classmates were future Gaelic football stars Michael O'Hehir and Philip Greene.[15][16][17]

After visiting England in July 1936, Thomas Finucane, then a company director, decided to set up an office in the West End of London on Regent Street. In November 1936, the family moved to England permanently and bought a house at 26 Castle Gate Road, Richmond in the London suburbs. Brendan was sent to Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School.[16][17] Brendan completed his schooling with good qualifications. He started in an office job as an accountant which he loathed. In 1938, the RAF began offering short-service commissions (SSC) to lower-class persons who met the academic standards of the time. It ensured four years as a junior rank on squadron service with flying lessons. A further six years would be spent on the reserve list. In November 1937, Brendan first approached his father about joining the British Armed Forces, considering a future war likely. Despite his Republican past, the senior Finucane agreed believing a military career would provide him a sense of direction lacking in his own youth. His parents cashed in their insurance policies, even though they needed the money and Thomas Andrew Finucane had been made unemployed.[18]

RAF training[edit]

In April 1938, aged 17—the minimum application age—Finucane dropped in his application to the Air Ministry at Kingsway, Richmond on his way to work. Eight weeks later, in June 1938 he was invited for an interview. He showed a keenness to fly, sound school leaving certificate qualifications and a good sporting record. After waiting two months, in August 1938 Brendan Finucane was ordered to report to the 6 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at Sywell in Northamptonshire. He arrived on 28 August.[19]

Within days, Finucane had taken to the skies with his instructor, flying the de Havilland Tiger Moth trainer. Finucane was slow to come to grips with handling the aircraft. He suffered a series of mishaps. A couple of flights into his training, he nearly flew into an airfield boundary hedge on 7 September. He struggled to land and another occasion just four days later, 11 September, his tyre burst. The Moth shot up into the air and Finucane barely recovered to make a heavy landing, although he was praised by his instructor. As they climbed out, they saw that the landing gear had been destroyed. Further heavy contact said Brendan, "[and] there would have been no more Brendan or Mr. Morris!"[20]

Roland Morris was an experienced instructor with more than 2,000 hours. He was critical of Finucane's habit of trying to force the aircraft to do what he wanted instead of coaxing it. Despite a series of blunders, Finucane wanted to fly solo. Five hours flight training behind the rest of his group, he made a successful journey on 21 September after the completion of 14:05 hours. The flight was not without fault; Finucane nearly stalled the aircraft after taking off.[21]

Advanced flying[edit]

Brendan was now one of the 45 pilots in his class to have completed 100 hours of piloting time on aircraft since he joined the RAF. After completing basic flight training on 28 October 1938, Finucane was classed as an average pilot, but deemed to be competent enough to be assigned to advanced flying school. With effect from the following day, he was granted a short-service commission as an acting pilot officer (on probation).[22] He was sent to 8 Flying Training School, RAF Montrose in Scotland. On 12 November, he left King's Cross railway station travelling on the Flying Scotsman to Glasgow, arriving at Montrose after a 10-hour journey.[23]

At Montrose Finucane struggled with the more powerful Hawker Hart used for advanced training. His positioning in the air was poor and he struggled to hold a good landing pattern. One of his instructors remarked, "the ground was never quite where Paddy expected it to be!". After failing a test with Squadron Leader Dickie Legg, his situation was reviewed. Legg was persuaded to keep him after Finucane showed a steely determination to succeed.[24]

Finucane soon moved on to the Hawker Fury, which he flew on 21 March 1939. On 23 June, he was classed as average again, but with low marks—2,010 out of 3,400—just 59 percent. Pilot ability was assessed as 400 out of 750; officer qualities 450 of 750; and in the written exams 837 of 1,300. Examined in navigation, meteorology, engine mechanics and armament, he achieved marks of 77, 54, 50 and 65 percent. At this time, he flew radio-controlled aircraft for the Targeting Section. On 10 July, he crashed a Queen bee on a transport flight to Gosport in bad weather, which did not improve his standing as a pilot. He escaped with a cut thumb. On 29 August, he was regraded as a pilot officer (on probation), with the service number 41276.[25] In the winter of 1939–40, he set about gaining as much flight practice as possible. Finucane improved and on 27 June 1940 he was posted to 7 Operational Training Unit to undergo conversion training onto Supermarine Spitfires while awaiting a fighter squadron posting.[26]

Second World War[edit]

Battle of Britain[edit]

Finucane was posted to No. 65 Squadron at RAF Hornchurch on 13 July 1940, just as the Battle of Britain was getting underway. No. 65 Squadron boasted several aces, including Bill Franklin who had destroyed 10 enemy aircraft. Finucane noted he was the scruffiest man in the squadron, but was envious of him and keen to emulate him. Anxious to get more experience, Finucane loitered around dispersal hoping to build up flight time on the Spitfire. He made a few flights to improve his handling of the fighter. Finucane was assigned to B Flight or Green Section, under the command of Franklin. On 24 July, the squadron moved to a satellite airfield at Rochford. The following day, he became operational.[27]

His first scramble came on that very day. Flying N3128 code YT-W, he took off at 08:45. The Spitfire was worn, having served in combat since April. It developed a glycol leak. The cockpit filled with escaping vapour from the cooling liquid condensing on the hot engine. Then his radio transmission went dead. Still, he managed a wheels-up landing at Rochford.[27]

For the next few days, Finucane did not scramble. On 1 August, he was given R6818 taken on charge by the unit on 26 July. On 12 August, he took off to intercept a raid at 11:30. Climbing to 26,000 feet (7,900 m), 10 miles (16 km) off North Foreland, the squadron bounced 30 Messerschmitt Bf 109s several thousand feet below them. He evaded an attack and then bounced a formation of 12. He fired from 250 to 50 yards (229 to 46 m), causing a Bf 109 to crash into the Channel, which was witnessed by Sergeant Orchard. Landing at 11:45, there was no time to celebrate the victory as RAF Manston came under attack by Messerschmitt Bf 110s and Dornier Do 17s covered by Bf 109s. Alongside Jeffrey Quill, the squadron took off down wind as the first bombs started to fall. Both Quill and Finucane sighted Bf 109s and engaged. Quill hit a Bf 109 and Finucane fired on two, claiming a probable and one damaged.[27]

The following day, the Luftwaffe began an all-out assault on RAF airfields. Christened Adlertag (Eagle Day), the raids saw the heaviest fighting thus far. Scrambling at 16:00, he destroyed a Bf 109 over the Channel off Dover and left another one streaming smoke, losing contact with it in cloud. It was claimed as a probable. On 28 August, the squadron was moved to Turnhouse near Edinburgh to replace losses. On 3 September, he was confirmed in his rank and promoted to flying officer.[28] A squadron report on 9 September noted that Finucane was learning quickly and showing signs of becoming an efficient combat leader.[27]

Channel Front[edit]

Brendan Finucane's Spitfire with shamrock marking his initials, superimposed over the body of the shamrock. It was nicknamed The Flying Shamrock.[29]

By early 1941, the Luftwaffe rarely appeared in daylight and Finucane spent most of his operational time patrolling the Channel coast. Only lone raiders came across to England. On 4 January 1941 at 09:50 off Selsey Bill, he caught and shot down a Bf 110 at 7,000 feet (2,100 m). It took 15 minutes and four attacks to bring it down. The Bf 110 crashed into the Channel.[30]

Off St. Catherine's Point on 19 January, Finucane was one of two Spitfires that intercepted a Junkers Ju 88 at 17,000 feet (5,200 m). They chased the Ju 88 to within 5 miles (8.0 km) of Cherbourg and broke off for lack of fuel. They left the Ju 88 on fire in both engines and flying at 50 feet. The pilot had proven a skilful opponent. The Ju 88 flew low-level skidding turns and into the sun where the glare prevented the British pilots from gaining a clear view. The rear gunner was also firing accurately, hitting Finucane's fighter with a few rounds. The Ju 88 was credited as shared destroyed.[30] On 5 February, Finucane claimed another Bf 109 over Cap d'Alprech. It was seen to crash into woodland.[31] On 14 April 1941, Finucane was posted as a Flight Commander to the newly formed Australian No. 452 Squadron RAAF at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, the first RAAF squadron to serve in Fighter Command. He was promoted to acting flight lieutenant the same day.[32]

Finucane in the cockpit of his aircraft known as the Flying Shamrock, so named due to the planes pilot graffiti. Finucane's initials, "B.F" are within the body of the Shamrock.

The following day, 15 April, he flew his final sortie with 65 Squadron, claiming one Bf 109 destroyed, seeing it crash into the sea. This, his fifth victory, made him an official ace.[32] However, according to other accounts, only two Bf 109s were involved in the brief air battle. Finucane's and 452's likely opponents in the battle included Adolf Galland. Galland was Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26—Fighter Wing 26). Galland had taken off with his wingman and a crate of lobsters loaded into the fuselage of his Bf 109 to deliver to Theo Osterkamp for his birthday. En route, he took a detour over the English coast and attacked several flights of Spitfires, claiming two shot down. Galland's landing-gear fell down during the battle, possibly leading Finucane to claim it as destroyed.[33] Both German pilots returned to France, their machines undamaged.[33][34] Finucane was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on 25 April.[32]

Finucane's start at No. 452 was unimpressive. On 3 May 1941 while on a recognition flight with his new commanding officer, Roy Dutton, an ace with 19 air victories, Finucane got too close and his propeller sliced through Dutton's tailplane. Finucane radioed Dutton immediately, "I have cut your tail off, leader bale out". Dutton replied, "So it seems", and attempted to abandon the aircraft but was too low and crash-landed, cracking several ribs but surviving. Despite the incident, he was Gazetted on 13 May.[32]

Finucane recovered and led flights of Spitfires during offensive patrols over France for most of the summer. On 11 July, he claimed another Bf 109 destroyed—the first victory for the squadron. The following month, Finucane claimed the destruction of eight Bf 109s on various operations and a further two as probably destroyed (nos. 7—15). He flew on the two missions (3 and 9 August) in which Eric Lock and Douglas Bader were lost over France. On 27 August 1941, a pair of Bf 109s destroyed brought his tally to 15 enemy aircraft destroyed. On 4 September, Finucane was awarded a Bar (Gazetted 9 September). Over two days, 20–21 September 1941, Finucane claimed another five Bf 109s (nos. 16—20), leading to a second Bar (Gazetted 26 September). Four Bf 109s were claimed destroyed in October (nos. 21—24). On 11 October, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (Gazetted 21 October) for 21 air victories. Two days later, he achieved his 24th air victory.[35]

In command[edit]

Fincane (left) and Keith Truscott after a successful sortie, October 1941.

In January 1942, Finucane was given command of No. 602 Squadron RAF at RAF Redhill. On 20 February, during a strafing mission with his new squadron, Finucane was wounded in the leg, tearing open his thigh from knee to hip:

The cockpit was awash with blood. It was not until I was feeling a touch sick and dizzy it dawned on me that it was my blood. It made me mad. Good Dublin blood should not be wasted. Just then things began to go black—how ever I managed to land back at dispersal without a crack–up will never be known.[36]

Finucane returned to operations on 13 March.[36] In March, four Focke Wulf Fw 190s fell to his guns and Finucane's fame spread beyond RAF ranks, with "model airplanes of his Spitfire with the vivid green Shamrocks were sold all along Piccadilly Circus and The Strand." On 27 June, he became the youngest wing commander in the RAF, leading the Hornchurch Wing.


On 15 July, Finucane was killed at the age of 21 while leading the Hornchurch Wing in a fighter "Ramrod"—ground attack—operation targeting a German Army camp at Étaples, France. He had always said that the Luftwaffe would never get him. He took off with his wing at 11:50. The attack was timed to hit the German forces at lunchtime. Crossing the beach at Le Touquet, they targeted machine gun positions. Finucane was hit in the radiator at 12:22. His wingman, Max Aikman, notified him of the white plume of smoke and Finucane acknowledged it with a thumbs up.[37][38]

He flew slowly out to sea, talking calmly to Aikman as he glided along in his stricken fighter. Finally, some 8 miles (13 km) off Le Touquet on the French coast, he sent his last message. Aikman, flying alongside Finucane, saw him pull back the canopy, and before taking off his helmet, say "This is it Butch". It was a well–executed landing, but the waves were difficult to predict and the Spitfire's nose struck the water and disappeared in a wall of spray. Before he hit the water, witnesses Aikman and Keith Chisholm of 452 Squadron saw him release—or perhaps tighten—his parachute release harness and straps. If Finucane had released them, it is possible he could have been thrown forward onto the gun-sight and killed, or knocked unconscious and drowned. The exact circumstances remain unknown.[37][39][40]


Over 2,500 people attended his memorial at Westminster Cathedral. A rose was planted in the memorial garden in Baldonnel Aerodrome in Dublin (home of the Irish Air Corps) where Brendan and his brother Ray first flew. Finucane's name is also inscribed on 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 Chief's exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. The Finucane family donated Brendan Finucane's uniform to the Royal Air Force Museum London.[41]

List of victories[edit]

The ability to verify RAF Fighter Command claims against the British main opponents in 1941 and 1942, Jagdgeschwader 26 and Jagdgeschwader 2, is very limited. Only two of the 30 volumes of War Diaries produced by JG 26 survived the war. Historian Donald Caldwell has attempted to use what limited German material is available to compare losses and air victory claims but acknowledges the lack of sources leave the possibility for error.[42]

Victory No. Date Type of aircraft Notes
1. 12 August 1940 One Bf 109 destroyed
One Bf 109 probable
One Bf 109 damaged
Two Bf 109s from III./Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54—Fighter Wing 54) were shot down and reported missing from the first raid whilst over the Channel. It is possible that they fell to No. 615 Squadron RAF also. Leutnant Eberle was wounded. The other pilot is unknown.[43] Finucane claimed his victory over the Channel.[44]
2. 13 August 1940 One Bf 109 destroyed
One Bf 109 probable
No. 65 Squadron engaged III./Jagdgeschwader 51 (JG 51—Fighter Wing 51). Four were claimed destroyed. Two Bf 109s were shot down over RAF Manston and one crash-landed back in France, 80 percent destroyed. Two pilots were captured and the third wounded. Pilot names unknown.[45]
3. 4 January 1941 One Messerschmitt Bf 110 claimed at 09.50am: S. Selsey Bill
. 19 January 1941 One Junkers Ju 88 shared destroyed Ju88 of II./Kampfgeschwader 77 (KG 77—Bomber Wing 77)
4. 5 February 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed
5. 15 April 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed Claimed one Bf 109 destroyed at 17:30. It appears that Finucane claimed Adolf Galland shot down. Galland and his wingman, Hans-Jürgen Westphal, returned to base without incident. The JG 26 war diary states that Galland flew a Bf 109F for the first time—Werknummer 6714. Galland's logbook states it was an F-2, but photographic evidence suggests it was an F-0 pre-production variant. The source mentions an RAF pilot claiming him as a victory. Both of Galland's claims were made at 17:50–18:00 CET.[46]
6. 11 July 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed JG 2 lost two pilots killed over Cherbourg and Boulogne. III./JG 26 suffered damage to one Bf 109. There is no mention in the JG 26 War Diary of further losses in men or aircraft.[47]
7. 3 August 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed
One Bf 109 probably destroyed
The JG 26 War Diary noted the force–landing of one Bf 109E. No further losses are mentioned for JG 2 or JG 26.[48]
8. 9 August 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed
Two Bf 109 shared destroyed
According to German records, 452's opponents on that date were Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26 – "Fighter Wing 26"). The Germans reported two losses. Unteroffizier Albert Schlager was killed. Another pilot parachuted to safety.[49][50] According to the JG 26 War Diary only two Bf 109s were lost and a number of RAF aces' claims cannot be verified through this record.[51]
10–12. 16 August 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed Opponents were also from JG 26. Morning victory cannot be identified. In the afternoon I. and II. JG 26 took off to meet the second RAF operation of the day but missed it. Jagdgeschwader 2 (JG 2— "Fighter Wing 2") did intercept and lost three Bf 109s and their pilots. JG 2 and JG 26 met the third operation. JG 2 lost two Bf 109s shot down, one of which was destroyed. Finucane made a claim at 18:30 GMT. At 19:30 CET, the same time, Leutnant Josef Heyarts engaged a Spitfire in a lengthy dogfight and was shot down and killed.[52][53]
13. 19 August 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed
One Bf 109 probably destroyed
The Hornchurch Wing bounced and shot down two Bf 109s from 5 Staffel (Squadron) of II./JG 26. Gefreiter Reinhardt Braun and Feldwebel Franz Schwaiger were killed.[54]
14–15. 27 August 1941 Two Bf 109s destroyed All three Gruppen of JG 26 engaged the early morning circus. Losses not listed in the unit war diary.[55]
16–18. 20 September 1941 Three Bf 109s destroyed According to the War Diary of JG 26 it suffered no losses. JG 2 lost two pilots killed but no figure is given for the number of aircraft casualties.[56]
19–20. 21 September 1941 Two Bf 109s destroyed JG 26 lost Leutnant Ulrich Dzialas 8 Staffel killed but no figure is given for the number of fighters lost. One II./JG 2 Bf 109 belly-landed damaged.[57]
21. 2 October 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed
One Bf 109 damaged
The unit opposing Finucane's Squadron was III./JG 2. Three Bf 109F-2s crash-landed after combat.[58]
22. 12 October 1941 One Bf 109s destroyed JG 2 was involved in air battles on this date. I./JG 2 lost one pilot killed (Lt. Rolf Beyer).[58]
23–24. 13 October 1941 Two Bf 109s destroyed
One Bf 109 damaged
JG 2 claimed no losses. JG 26 suffered two losses. One Fw 190 crash-landed after combat and a Peter Göring was shot down and killed in a Bf 109. According to the War Diary, Göring was shot down by a Bristol Blenheim.[59]
. 20 February 1942 One Fw 190 damaged
25. 13 March 1942 One Fw 190 destroyed
One Fw 190 shared destroyed
The Kenley Wing claimed 5 Fw 190s downed overall, but according to the JG 26 War Diary, III./JG 26 lost no aircraft.[60]
. 14 March 1942 One Ju 88 shared destroyed
26. 26 March 1942 One Fw 190 destroyed No Fw 190s were reported lost but I./JG 2 lost two Bf 109F-4s.
27. 28 March 1942 One Fw 190 destroyed
One Bf 109 shared destroyed
Kenley Wing claimed 7 victories; One Fw 190 was lost; III./JG26's Lt Johannsen was killed.[61]
. 2 April 1942 One Fw 190 damaged
. 10 April 1942 One Fw 190 damaged
. 16 April 1942 One Fw 190 damaged
. 26 April 1942 One Fw 190 shared destroyed No JG 26 losses listed.[62]
. 28 April 1942 One Fw 190 damaged
. 30 April 1942 One Fw 190 probably destroyed 602 Squadron claimed 1-3-1; III./JG 26 lost one FW 190 and one damaged.[63]
28. 17 May 1942 One Fw 190 destroyed 602 Squadron claimed 2-0-0 in total; Two JG 26 Fw 190s force landed with battle damage.[64]
. 8 June 1942 One Fw 190 probably destroyed 602 Squadron claimed 0-2-0; One JG 26 Fw 190 force landed with combat damage.[65]

Honours and awards[edit]

  • 13 May 1941 – Flying Officer Brendan Finucane DFC (41276) of No. 65 Squadron is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry displayed in flying operation against the enemy:
This officer has shown great keenness in his efforts to engage the enemy and has destroyed at least 5 of their aircraft. His courage and enthusiasm have been a source of encouragement to other pilots of the squadron.

— London Gazette[66]

  • 9 September 1941 – Acting Flight Lieutenant Brendan Finucane DFC (41276) of No. 452 (RAAF) Squadron is awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry displayed in flying operation against the enemy:
This officer has led his flight with great dash, determination and courage in the face of the enemy. Since July 1941, he has destroyed three enemy aircraft and assisted in the destruction of a further two. Flight Lieutenant Finucane has been largely responsible for the fine fighting spirit of the unit.

— London Gazette[67]

  • 26 September 1941 – Acting Flight Lieutenant Brendan Finucane DFC (41276) of No. 452 (RAAF) Squadron is awarded a second Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry displayed in flying operation against the enemy::
This officer has fought with marked success during recent operations over Northern France and has destroyed a further six enemy aircraft. Of these, three were destroyed in one day and two in a single sortie on another occasion. His ability and courage have been reflected in the high standard of morale and fighting spirit of his unit. Flight Lieutenant Finucane has personally destroyed fifteen hostile aircraft.

— London Gazette[68]

  • 21 October 1941 – Acting Flight Lieutenant Brendan Finucane DFC (41276) of No. 452 (RAAF) Squadron is awarded a Distinguished Service Order for gallantry displayed in flying operation against the enemy:
Recently during two sorties on consecutive days, Flight Lieutenant Finucane destroyed five Messerschmitt 109's bringing his total victories to at least 20. He has flown with this squadron since June 1941, during which time the squadron has destroyed 42 enemy aircraft of which Flight Lieutenant Finucane had personally destroyed 15. The successes achieved are undoubtedly due to this officer's brilliant leadership and example

— London Gazette[69]

Promotions and Postings[edit]

Finucane's uniform.
Finucane's medals.
  • 6 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School RAF Sywell 29 August 1938
  • 1 RAF Depot RAF Uxbridge
  • 8 Flying School RAF Montrose
  • 13 Maintenance Unit RAF Henlow
  • 7 Operational Training RAF Hawarden
  • 65 Squadron
  • 452 Squadron (Flight Commander)
  • Hospitalised:
    • Sutton emergency services hospital 13 October 1941
    • Epsom Hospital 14 October 1941
    • RAF Hospital Halton 14 November 1941
    • RAF Hospital Torquay 21 November 1941
  • 452 Squadron 19 January 1942
  • 602 Squadron (Squadron Leader) 26 January 1942
  • Wing Commander (Hornchurch Wing) 21 June 1942


  1. ^ The phrase was and is used by academics to describe the conflicts in the 1920s but, more recently, the violence dating from the 1960s to the late 1990s.[6]
  1. ^ Reynolds 1942, p. 11.
  2. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 189.
  3. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 191–194.
  4. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 16.
  5. ^ Reynolds 1942, p. 73.
  6. ^ Parkinson 2004, pp. 14, 313, 316.
  7. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 191.
  8. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 191–192.
  9. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 193–194.
  10. ^ Reynolds 1942, p. 72.
  11. ^ a b c Stokes 1983, p. 21.
  12. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 28
  13. ^ a b Stokes 1983, p. 22.
  14. ^ Baker 1962, p. 80.
  15. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 29.
  16. ^ a b Stokes 1983, pp. 22–24.
  17. ^ a b Reynolds 1942, p. 46.
  18. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 24.
  19. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 25.
  20. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 26–27.
  21. ^ Stokes 1983, Pp. 26–27.
  22. ^ "London Gazette, 15 November 1938". 1939-11-15. Retrieved 2014-10-02. 
  23. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 28.
  24. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 30–31.
  25. ^ "London Gazette, 3 October 1939". 1939-10-03. Retrieved 2014-10-02. 
  26. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 31–33.
  27. ^ a b c d Stokes 1983, pp. 36–40.
  28. ^ "London Gazette, 20 September 1940". 1940-09-20. Retrieved 2014-10-02. 
  29. ^ Reynolds 1942, p. 30.
  30. ^ a b Stokes 1983, p. 44.
  31. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 45.
  32. ^ a b c d Stokes 1983, pp. 49–51.
  33. ^ a b Caldwell 2012, p. 126.
  34. ^ Baker 1996, p. 160.
  35. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 55–106.
  36. ^ a b Reynolds 1942, p. 31.
  37. ^ a b Sampson 2002, p. 39.
  38. ^ Stokes 1983, pp. 184–185.
  39. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 185.
  40. ^ Reynolds 1942, p. 74.
  41. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 34.
  42. ^ Caldwell 1998, p. iv.
  43. ^ Mason 1969, p. 236.
  44. ^ Foreman 2003, p. 126.
  45. ^ Mason 1969, p. 243.
  46. ^ Caldwell 2012, pp. 126–127.
  47. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 149.
  48. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 159.
  49. ^ Caldwell 2012, pp. 161–163.
  50. ^ Saunders 2007, p. 97.
  51. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 163.
  52. ^ Stokes 1983, p. 192.
  53. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 166.
  54. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 167.
  55. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 170.
  56. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 178.
  57. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 179.
  58. ^ a b Caldwell 2012, p. 182.
  59. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 184.
  60. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 215.
  61. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 220.
  62. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 231.
  63. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 234.
  64. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 240.
  65. ^ Caldwell 2012, p. 250.
  66. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35161. p. 2745. 13 May 1941. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  67. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35270. p. 5217. 9 September 1941. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  68. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35287. p. 5595. 26 September 1941. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  69. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35318. p. 6103. 21 October 1941. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
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  • Parkinson, Alan F. Belfast's Unholy War: The Troubles of the 1920s. Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press, 2004. ISBN 978-1-85182-792-3.
  • Philpott, Bryan. Famous Fighter Aces. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-025-X.
  • Reynolds, James. Wing Commander Paddy Finucane (Brendan Finucane), a Memoir. New York: Edmond Byrne Hackett, 1942.
  • Sampson, Sammy (Wing Commander RFW, OBE,DFC&BAR) with Norman Franks. Spitfire Offensive. London: Bounty Books, 2002. ISBN 978-0-7537-1558-1.
  • Stokes, Doug. Paddy Finucane, Fighter Ace: A Biography of Wing Commander Brendan E. Finucane, D.S.O., D.F.C. and Two Bars. London: William Kimber & Co. Ltd., 1983. ISBN 0-7183-0279-6. (republished Somerton, Somerset, UK: Crécy Publishing, 1992, ISBN 0-947554-22-X).

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