Patrick Anthony Langan-Byrne

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Patrick Anthony Langan Byrne
Clogherhead, County Louth, Ireland
Died16 October 1916 (aged 20–21)
Commemorated at
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1914–1916
RankSecond Lieutenant
Unit30th Brigade, RFA
No. 24 Squadron RFC
Battles/warsWorld War I
 • Western Front
AwardsDistinguished Service Order

Second Lieutenant Patrick Anthony Langan Byrne DSO (1895 – 16 October 1916) was an Irish flying ace of the First World War credited with ten aerial victories.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Byrne was born in Clogherhead, Co. Louth, the son of Dr. and Mrs. J. V. Byrne.[2] He was educated at Clongowes.[3]

World War I[edit]

Langan-Byrne was commissioned as a temporary second lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on 9 October 1914,[4] serving in 129th Battery, 30th Brigade.[2] He was later seconded to the Royal Flying Corps, in which he was appointed a flying officer on 4 August 1916.[5]

Langan-Byrne flew an Airco DH-2 such as this for his victories.

Langan-Byrne began his victories on 31 August 1916, when he used Airco DH.2 No. 6011 to force an enemy aircraft to land. Three days later, he drove a German fighter aircraft down out of control for his second win. On 15 September, he switched to DH.2 No. 7911 and shot down another German fighter in flames. The next day, Byrne destroyed a Fokker D.II. Then, between 21 and 28 September, he ran off a string of five "forced to land" victories. His being shot down by four Germans on 23 September did not seem to daunt him. [6]

He was appointed a flight commander with the temporary rank of captain on 14 October[7] just prior to his last victory on the morning of 16 October. That afternoon he was airborne for his second sortie of the day. He led "B" Flight right for Oswald Boelcke, commander of Jasta 2, who promptly killed him for the German ace's 34th victory. Langan-Byrne's grave site is unknown, though it is known he was buried.[1][8] His Officer Commanding, Major Lanoe Hawker, lamented, "He was such a nice lad, as well as the best officer I have ever met."[9] As a flying casualty of the Western Front with no known grave he is commemorated at the Arras Flying Services Memorial.[2]

List of aerial victories[edit]

Combat record[1]
No. Date/Time Aircraft/
Serial No.
Opponent Result Location
1 31 August 1916
@ c.1800
Enemy aircraft Forced to land North of Bapaume
2 2 September 1916
@ 1935
Single-seat fighter Out of control Beaulencourt
3 15 September 1916
@ 0830
Single-seat fighter Destroyed in flames North-east of Morval
4 16 September 1916
@ 1900
Fokker D.II Destroyed Achiet
5 21 September 1916
@ 1745
LVG two-seater Forced to land North of Miraumont
6 22 September 1916
@ 1140
Enemy aircraft Forced to land Vélu
7 22 September 1916
@ 1800
Rumpler two-seater Forced to land Grandcourt
8 23 September 1916
@ 0815
Rumpler two-seater Forced to land East of Combles
9 28 September 1916
@ 1710
LVG two-seater Forced to land Rocquigny
10 16 October 1916
@ 1030
Albatros D.I Forced to land Biefvillers

Honours and awards[edit]

Distinguished Service Order
Second Lieutenant Patrick Anthony Langan-Byrne, Royal Artillery and Royal Flying Corps.
"For conspicuous skill and gallantry. He has shown great pluck in attacking hostile machines, often against large odds. He has accounted for several. On one occasion, with two other machines, he attacked seventeen enemy machines, shot down one in flames and forced another to land."[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Patrick Anthony Langan-Byrne". The Aerodrome. 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Casualty Details: Byrne, Patrick Anthony Laugan". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Catholics in the War Honours". The Tablet: 12. 25 November 1916. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. ^ "No. 28932". The London Gazette. 9 October 1914. p. 8043.
  5. ^ "No. 29723". The London Gazette. 25 August 1916. p. 8399.
  6. ^ Shores, Franks & Guest (1990), p. 231.
  7. ^ "No. 29801". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 October 1916. p. 10378.
  8. ^ Guttman & Dempsey (2009), pp. 40–44.
  9. ^ Guttman & Dempsey (2009), p. 45.
  10. ^ "No. 29824". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 November 1916. p. 11041.
  • Guttman, Jon & Dempsey, Harry (2009). Pusher Aces of World War I. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-417-6.
  • Shores, Christopher; Franks, Norman & Guest, Russell (1990). Above the Trenches: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the British Empire Air Forces 1915-1920. London: Grub Street. ISBN 978-0-948817-19-9.