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withdrawn from the battle to recuperate its losses.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.