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Wing Commander Brendan “Paddy” Finucane

Wing Commander Brendan Finucane


DSO, DFC & two bars (October 16th 1920 - July 15th 1942)

Brendan Finucane was born at Rathmines near Dublin in Ireland educated. In 1936 the Finucane’s moved to England and Brendan Finucane applied to join the RAF in 1938. On completing his flying training Finucane was posted as a Pilot Officer with the Spitfire equipped 65 Squadron at RAF Hornchurch.

Finucane’s first aerial victory was made during the Battle of Britain when on 12th August 1940 he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109, this being the first of his 26 confirmed victories. Further victories followed before 65 Squadron was withdrawn from the battle to recuperate its losses.

In April 1941 Finucane was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and was posted as a flight commander with 452 Squadron, the first operational Royal Australian Air Force Squadron to serve with the RAF’s Fighter Command. 452 Squadron commenced offensive operations in July 1941 over occupied Europe and Finucane soon added another 17 enemy planes shot down to his bag.

In January 1942 Finucane was promoted to Squadron Leader and was given command of 602 Squadron. While leading 602 Squadron he was injured by ground fire but also bagged four of the Luftwaffe’s new Focke Wulf 190 fighters.

On 27th June 1942, aged only 21 he became the RAF’s youngest ever Wing Commander and took command of the legendary Spitfire wing based at RAF Hornchurch. Finucane’s tenure in command did not last long, for on 15th July 1942, while conducting an offensive sweep near Boulogne his Spitfire was hit by ground fire. Finucane coaxed his damaged plane back towards England but was finally forced to ditch. Unfortunately his Spitfire immediately sank on hitting the channel so bringing to an end Finucane’s short life and meteoric career.

Stokes, D. 1992. Paddy Finucane, Fighter Ace: A Biography of Wing Commander Brendan E Finucane, DSO, DFC and Two bars.



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