Personnel Index - Detail
Awarded the DFM (see additional information at the bottom of the page).
Sgt John Kirwan is on the RHS of the image.......taken we believe in 1938 when both were recruits.
Photograph courtesy of Bert Whittle (LHS of the image)........Bert (97 years old in 2019) went on to become a pilot (not 49Sqn).
The crashsite of LM541
The funeral of the crew of LM541
7/8 July, 1944; ST-LUE-D'ESSERENT (CRIEL):
5 Group paid a second visit to the V1storage dump at St Leu on the 7th. A slightly smaller force of 208 Lancasters led by Pathfinder Mosquitoes, accurately bombed the tunnels in which the flying bombs were stored. But the cost in men and aircraft was to be high; 29 Lancasters and 2 Mosquitoes were lost as German night-fighters again took their toll.
What did shock and sadden many at Fiskerton was the loss of one very experienced crew; F/Lt George Ball DFC (LM541) was flying his 30th operation, and most of his crew their 29th. Tragically they were all killed and are buried in Le Chesne Cemetery, Eure, France.
Lancaster LM541 (EA-N)
F/L G.E. Ball DFC Pilot (Killed)
Sgt E. Wardman F/E (Killed)
P/O G. Millar NAV (Killed)
P/O J. Kernahan W/OP (Killed)
Sgt J.A. Kirwan DFM A/G (Killed)
P/O G.A. Rae RCAF A/B (Killed)
F/S G.J.W.Parkinson DFM A/G (Killed)
Crew on their 29th operation
Colin Cripps (Association Researcher):
A victim of Lt. Siegfried Elsässer Stab II./NJG
Earlier in his career Sgt Kirwan had been involved in a collision with a Ju88 whilst flying with F/O Bill Healey.
LEIPZIG, 19th February 1944:
F/O Bill Healey RCAF (JB679) and crew, flying D-Dog also returned early with a collision report, but this time it was between his Lancaster and that of a German aircraft. A sudden jar shuddered through D-Dog; looking out along the port main plane, Bill saw the shadowy shape of a Ju88 sitting on his wing tip with the German pilot clearly visible. The time was 02.01hrs and they were flying at 21,000ft. Within moments the Junkers fell away, taking ten feet of Lancaster wing with it.
F/O Healey fought for control as they lost height rapidly in a spiral dive. His crew watched as the German burst into flames as it crashed on the ground.
Struggling back to Fiskerton on three engines and a severely shortened wing, the Healey crew touched down at 03.39hrs. A daylight inspection revealed extensive damage with the port outer engine pushed askew and the airscrew bent beyond redemption. For his excellent display of airmanship, F/O Healey RCAF was awarded the DFC.
Additional information via Mary Casteleyne:
The family told us a lovely story. John's father came to England to collect his son's DFM. Since he did not own a suit, the local people in Dungarvan had a collection for him to buy a suit so that he would be properly attired to collect the medal.