Paddy Finucane

Finucane was the eldest son of Irish republican parents who had emigrated to this country in 1936, his father having been a veteran of the 1916 Uprising. Despite this Republican background, Finucane joined the RAF in 1938. After gaining his Wings, he joined 65 Squadron at Hornchurch. He won his first victory in the Battle on August 12th shooting down an Me109. His Squadron was withdrawn from frontline operations at the end of August and did not return to operations until November that year. By then Finucane had shot down four Me109s and one Me110.

Finucane went on the next year to become the youngest Wing Commander in the RAF, credited with 26 kills in all. He finally perished on 15th July 1942. His Spitfire had been disabled by ground fire and crashed into the sea at low level. His last words were a laconic message, “This is it chaps.” A few seconds later he was dead. He was only 21.