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Joseph Charles McCarthy
Name : Joseph Charles McCarthy
Died : 6th September 1998
Distinguished Service Order
In March 1943, a special Royal Air Force (RAF) unit, 617 Squadron, was created to try a new tactic--low altitude bombing using deep penetration bombs that weighed from 9,500 to 22,000 pounds. Their first targets were three dams in the Ruhr industrial area of western Germany: the Mohne, the Eder, and the Sorpe. These dams supplied water for Ruhr steel mills and hydroelectric power. Twenty Avro Lancaster bombers were specially modified for this mission to carry a new, rotating skip bomb that would bounce across the lake, sink, and then explode at the base of the dam. So secret was the dambusting mission, that the pilots and navigators were briefed only the day before as to the actual targets. The three dams were struck, and two were breached, on the night of 16 May 1943. "Joe " McCarthy, from Long Island, New York, was an original member of 617 Squadron. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1941 and soon transferred with his crew to RAF Bomber Command. From 1941 until late 1944, he flew the Hampden, Manchester, Lancaster, and Mosquito bombers and compiled a total of 80 combat missions. As Officer Commanding, German Aircraft Flight, he tested and flew over 20 different German aircraft, which had been taken from captured German airfields back to Farnborough for extensive engineering evaluation. During this period, McCarthy flew the first British operational jet, the Meteor, and the experimental Windsor bomber. Upon returning to Edmonton, Canada, he continued flight testing a variety of aircraft for cold weather operations as well as the experimental Canadian flying wing. During 28 years in the RCAF, he flew 64 different British, American, German, and Canadian aircraft. Later assignments included base executive officer for an F-86 NATO installation in France; Commander, Flying Training School, RCAF Station Penhold, Canada; and Commanding Officer of the 407 Maritime Squadron, flying the P2V Neptune. From 1961 to 1962, he was Chief of Air Operations for the United Nations' forces in the Congo, and from 1963 to 1966, worked in plans and policy for CINCLANT/CINCLANTFLT. Wing Commander McCarthy's final assignment was as base operations officer for two maritime squadrons flying the Argus antisubmarine warfare aircraft in Nova Scotia. He retired from the RCAF in 1969 and, after a second career in real estate, fully retired in 1986. Passed away 6th September 1998.
Known Service Details :
Start of Service
End of Service
Artwork signed by this Pilot or Aircrew
Dambusters by Robert Taylor. (B)
Artwork with companion print(s) signed by this Pilot or Aircrew
Breaching the Dams by Nicolas Trudgian. (C)
Artwork with companion print(s) featuring the mounted signature of this Pilot or Aircrew
The Dambusters - Last Moments of the Möhne Dam by Robert Taylor. (C)
Photos Submitted Through Our Directory
Known Individual Aircraft :
|Aircraft for : Joseph Charles McCarthy|
|A list of all aircraft associated with Joseph Charles McCarthy. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Handley Page
Retired : 1942
Number Built : 1500
The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a twin-engine medium bomber built for the Royal Air Force and was used by Bomber Command in the early years of world war two. Along with the other medium bombers the Whitley and Wellington, the Hampden bore the brunt of the early bombing war over Europe, taking part in the first night raid on Berlin and the first 1,000-plane raid on Cologne. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden was known as the Flying Suitcase because of its cramped crew conditions. A total of 226 Hampdens were in service with eight Royal Air Force squadrons by the start of the Second World War. Despite its speed and agility, in operational use the Hampden was no match for the fighters of the Luftwaffe (ME109 and FW 190) and the Hampdens role as a day bomber was brief, but Hampdens continued to operate at night on bombing raids over Germany and in mine laying (code-named gardening) in the North Sea. Almost half of the Hampdens built – 714, were lost on operations, witht he loss of 1,077 crew killed and another 739 missing. German flak accounted for 108; with one Hampden being lost due to German Barrage balloons; 263 Hampdens crashed due to a variety of causes, and 214 others were classed as missing. Luftwaffe pilots claimed 128 Hampdens, shooting down 92 at night. The Hampden soon became obsolete for its roll as a medium modern bomber, after operating mainly at night, it was retired from Bomber Command service in late 1942. but continued with Coastal Command throughout 1943 as a long-range Torpedo Bomber (the Hampden TB Mk I which carried the Mk XII torpedo in an open bomb-bay and a single 500 lb (230 kg) bomb under each wing) The Hampden was also used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Manufacturer : Avro
Production Began : 1942
Retired : 1963
Number Built : 7377
The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' Operation Gomorrah in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.
Manufacturer : Avro
Full profile not yet available.
Manufacturer : Gloster
Production Began : 1944
Number Built : 3947
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, and built by the Gloster Aircraft Company, Armstrong-Whitworth, the Meteor first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Gloster Meteor was not an aerodynamically advanced aircraft but the Gloster design team succeeded in producing an effective jet fighter that served the RAF and other air forces for decades. Meteors saw action with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in the Korean War and other air forces used the Meteor. The Royal Danish Air Force, The Belgian Air Force and Isreali Air Force kept the Meteor in service until the early 1970's. A Total of 3947 meteors were built and two Meteors, WL419 and WA638, remain in service with the Martin-Baker company as ejection seat testbeds.
Manufacturer : De Havilland
Production Began : 1940
Retired : 1955
Number Built : 7781
Used as a night fighter, fighter bomber, bomber and Photo-reconnaissance, with a crew of two, Maximum speed was 425 mph, at 30,300 feet, 380mph at 17,000ft. and a ceiling of 36,000feet, maximum range 3,500 miles. the Mosquito was armed with four 20mm Hospano cannon in belly and four .303 inch browning machine guns in nose. Coastal strike aircraft had eight 3-inch Rockets under the wings, and one 57mm shell gun in belly. The Mossie at it was known made its first flight on 25th November 1940, and the mosquito made its first operational flight for the Royal Air Force as a reconnaissance unit based at Benson. In early 1942, a modified version (mark II) operated as a night fighter with 157 and 23 squadron's. In April 1943 the first De Haviland Mosquito saw service in the Far east and in 1944 The Mosquito was used at Coastal Command in its strike wings. Bomber Commands offensive against Germany saw many Mosquitos, used as photo Reconnaissance aircraft, Fighter Escorts, and Path Finders. The Mosquito stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1955. and a total of 7781 mosquito's were built.
|Squadrons for : Joseph Charles McCarthy|
|A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by Joseph Charles McCarthy. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.|
No.617 Sqn RAF
Country : UK
Founded : 23rd March 1943
Apres mois, le deluge - After me, the flood
|No.617 Sqn RAF|
Full profile not yet available.
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|RECENT UPDATES TO OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Wellington R1004 : Aircrew updated, Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Wellington was abandoned in the vicinity of Cambridge after the bomber fell across houses, killing three women and injuring another.)|
|New victory claim added : Me110 claimed on 15th September 1940 by Jozef Jeka of No.238 Sqn RAF|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden AD722 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Hampden crashed after flying into a building while trying to land at Finningley.)|
|Warrant Officer David Fraser added to aircrew database :|
Was on his 4th Operation as a Rear Gunner with 115 Sqn on Wellingtons when he was shot down by night fighters on a raid to Hamburg on 10th May 1941. He then spent 4 years as a Prisoner of War.
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden P4359 : Airframe notes updated (added 08-02-1941 : Hampden was abandoned after it crashed and burst into flames at Taverham Park in the early morning.)|
|Sergeant Robert Freeland added to aircrew database :|
Killed aged 22 on 4th July 1943 when his Stirling BK718 WP-M of No.90 Sqn was shot down and crashed near Cologne. He is buried in Overloon War Cemetery. Son of John and Marion Freeland, of Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley T4220 :|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden X3001 : Airframe notes updated (added 10-02-1941 : Hampden was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed north of Alkmaar in Holland.)|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : W. A. Fullerton : Squadrons updated (added No.58 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|New victory claim added : He111 claimed on 29th July 1942 by William Hoy of No.604 Sqn RAF|
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