The attraction of taking flight in time of war is unmistakable. For a lad of nineteen, twenty, twenty one, he is a latter-day knight at the prime of his life, mounting his steed of steel to do battle with evil. Life seems indestructible and without end at that age, except, reality is shockingly different. Of a group of 100 RAF airmen in the early phase of World War Two, a mere twenty escaped being killed, captured or incinerated alive.
Flying Officer Desmond “Des” O’Connell was just nineteen when he joined the British Royal Air Force, in 1938.
O’Connell was assigned to RAF Limavady in the north of Ireland in the early months of World War Two, around the time the Capital Battleship Bismarck cleared the Kiel Canal and emerged into the Baltic Sea. On this day in 1941, Desmond O’Connell and six other flyers were assigned to find and take…
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