Friday, 7 December 2018

The Irish Spitfire Ace With The Shamrock On His Plane.

Thanks for the comments and all the views for my last post.  My friend in that post is no longer around.  He was such a character and I was only thinking about him the other day.  

We were born in 1963 and there was still much celebrating and play acting about the World War Two victory.  We would buy the Victor comic, dig fox holes and make guns out of wood and fought each other in "Japs and Commando" battles and of course the times he or me would run down the street, arms stretched.  Pretending to be a Spitfire shooting down a Messerschmidt.  

Anyway I was on one of my strolls (eight miles) the other day and I met an oldish looking man.  He thought I was a tourist but he couldn't work out my accent.  I told him that people in shops often ask me how long am I on holiday here?  

"Seventeen and a half years". 

That's my usual reply.

We must of been talking for nearly an hour.  We talked about literature, travel (he' was in the Merchant Navy), Brexit (not again!) the British Atlantic fleet being based over on Beara, across the water from us.  We got on like an house on fire.  

Then he asked me if I had hear of the Spitfire ace: Paddy Finucane.  He told me he use to have a Shamrock painted (emblazoned) on his plane.  I rushed home and Googled: "Irish Spitfire Ace."Paddy was born in Dublin.  His mother was English and his father fought in the 1916 Dublin Rising.  Paddy joined the RAF and fought in the Battle of Britain and was shot down by machine gun fire, but not by an enemy plane  the rest is history.  What a guy and so, so brave.

I am going to buy a book about him.  Perhaps I may get it for a Christmas present, hint, hint!

I have mentioned Public Broadcasting, the band before.  Here's a very appropriate track of theirs:


  1. Interesting film. I’d not heard of him before. My knowledge of WW2 planes (Allied and Axis) comes from making Airfix models (do children still make these?). Douglas Bader, Leonard Cheshire, Guy Gibson, Johnny Johnson, and even Erich Hartmann, were all familiar childhood names.

  2. Thanks Philip. Brendan Finucane was only 21 when he was shot down by a machine gun. He's the RAF's youngest Wing Commander and he shot down 28 German planes. I remember Leonard Cheshire and Douglas Bader. There were Polish Spitfire and Hurricane pilots too. I once met one. So incredibly brave and we would should never forget them. Thanks!

  3. A publican friend of mine was shot down over enemy territory three times and each time survived to tell the tale. He showed me his medals and other war memorabilia which he kept in a 'ditty box' which was in fact an oxo tin. One thing he showed me was a small book about his war exploits written by an Australian colleague. One story I remember was about how he escaped and made a midnight rendezvous with a submarine waiting off the Italian coast. My friend was only referred to by his code name. The end of his life was marred by illness. No films were made about him. No famous actors played the role. He was one among many. A brave man doing his duty.

  4. What an amazing war true story Gwil. The book of his exploits sound absolutely fascinating. I was made up when I talked to the Polish Spitfire pilot. Thanks for telling us about your publican friend Gwil.

    1. We are honored to have known such people - 'heroes' to use what is sadly these days a devalued word. I read that footballer soandso is a hero for scoring a winning goal or saving a penalty - what utter nonsense.

  5. Totally agree Gwil. There are people with amazing talents like poets, writers, artists,musicians, even sports stars. But those who risked their lives, fought for our freedom, gave the ultimate sacrifice. They are the real heroes!

  6. Thanks for this post Dave. Lots of young men like this and very humbling to us all, what they did.

  7. Thanks Rachel. You're right it is very humbling what they did for people then and our generations now.

  8. I lived through the war years, when family members fought for their country, and the memories are still vivid. There were plenty of brave men in those days, unlike today.

  9. Thanks Valerie. So many fought for their country to stop the Nazis taking over. Thanks for your comment.


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