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Thread: An early D.F.C.

  1. #1
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    Default An early D.F.C.

    On the evening of 31st July/1st August 1942 Operational Training Units provided aircraft for a raid on Dusseldorf.

    From 14 OTU one pupil, P/O Curtin of New York U.S.A. on his first operational sortie was awarded an immediate D.F.C. for bringing back his crippled Hampden aircraft and crew.

    I would be curious to learn more about Curtin.

    I can only imagine the pressure the award placed on him when he was posted to a regular squadron.
    Last edited by David Layne; 6th July 2009 at 13:46.

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    Hi David,

    Sadly, seven months later he was dead:

    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2080163

    Note the Bar to his DFC and his promotion of two ranks

    Regards,

    Dave

  3. #3
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    From Courage & Service - John Blatherwick & Hugh Halliday
    CURTIN, P/O Donald Joseph (J9340) - Distinguished Flying Cross - unit not given in AFRO; "Attached to RAF Overseas" - Award effective 7 August 1942 as per London Gazette dated 21 August 1942 and AFRO 1497/42 dated 18 September 1942. American in RCAF. Born 1918 in New York City, N.Y.; home there. Enlisted in Ottawa, 5 May 1941. Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 11 August 1941), No.12 EFTS (graduated 25 September 1941), and No.5 SFTS (graduated 12 September 1941). Commissioned December 1941. Unit may have been either No.97 or No.106 Squadron. Killed in action 25/26 February 1943 with No.106 Squadron (Lancaster R4886); buried in Germany. DFC and Bar presented to next of kin, 13 June 1944.

    One night in July 1942 this officer was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack a target in northwest Germany. When nearing the target area his aircraft was intercepted by an enemy fighter but Pilot Officer Curtin evaded it and flew on to the objective. Shortly after leaving the target area his aircraft was again intercepted by enemy fighters. In the ensuing engagement the rear gunner and wireless operator were badly wounded. Pilot Officer Curtin was almost blinded by cordite from a bursting shell and the aircraft lost height by several thousand feet before the captain was able to clear his eyes and regain control. Later, when nearing the Dutch coast, the bomber was hit by fire from the ground defences. The navigator sustained wounds and the aircraft was damaged. Despite this, Pilot Officer Curtin flew on and eventually reached this country. In difficult circumstances he made a safe landing in a field. Afterwards he assisted his wounded crew from the aircraft and then went off for further help. In this, his first operational flight, Pilot Officer Curtin displayed great courage, determination and devotion to duty.

    CURTIN, F/L Donald Joseph, DFC (J9340) - Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross - No.106 Squadron - Award effective 10 February 1943 as per London Gazette dated 12 February 1943 and AFRO 410/43 dated 12 March 1943.

    Since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has participated in numerous operational sorties against heavily defended targets in the Ruhr and in north Italy. During a daylight raid on Milan in October, when attacked by enemy fighters, Flight Lieutenant Curtin skilfully evaded them and enabled his gunners to destroy one and drive off the other. On two consecutive nights in January 1943, he took part in attacks on Berlin, on the second occasion spending thirty minutes over the target to ensure accurate bombing. This officer has always displayed the greatest courage and devotion to duty.
    Dave Wallace

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    Default Curtin

    I can now provide a little additional biographical material on him:

    CURTIN, P/O Donald Joseph (J9340) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.97 Squadron (unit not given in AFRO; "Attached to RAF Overseas") - Award effective 7 August 1942 as per London Gazette dated 21 August 1942 and AFRO 1497/42 dated 18 September 1942. American in RCAF. Born 20 January 1918 in New York City, N.Y.; home there. Educated there including three years of Science at Manhattan College. Also worked as cruise director, Holland American Line, three years. Enlisted in Ottawa, 5 May 1941 and posted to No.1Manning Depot. To North Sydney Detachment, 26 May 1941. Posted to No.1 ITS, 2 July 1941 (graduated 8 August 1941 and promoted LAC); to No.12 EFTS, Goderich, 8 August 1941; to No.5 SFTS, 26 September 1941 (graduated and commissioned 19 December 1941). To "Y" Depot, Halifax, 20 December 1941; to RAF overseas, 7 January 1942. To No.12 SFTS, 23 February 1942.To No.12 (P) AFU, April 1942. To No.14 OTU, 19 May 1942; To No.97 Conversion Unit, 23 August 1942. Unit merged with No.97 Squadron. Posted to No.106 Conversion Flight, 11 September 1942. To No.106 Squadron, 19 September 1942. Killed in action 25/26 February 1943 with No.106 Squadron (Lancaster R4886); buried in Germany. DFC and Bar presented to next of kin, 13 June 1944.

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